Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Christmas 2012

Christmas presents!
 The long awaited book; Vegan Eats World
  It is bigger than it looks on Amazon and I'm in the process of bookmarking what to make first, but the Green Thai soup is looking pretty good!
Wearing last years scarf and Santa hat christmas presents from Beijing.
Also here is my christmas day roast dinner with Cheatin's Celebrations roast, bacon wrapped sausages and turkey, sprouts, parsnips, stuffing and creamy cheesey leeks.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Festive treats; Cookies, Yule Log and Santa's

Cooking christmas 2012
Last year I was backpacking and did no cooking at Christmas :(
This year I'm feeling very festive and have set some great challenges on myself, and tasted some great food.
Strawberry Santa's
Strawberries piped with icing, I made these for the work buffet, they didn't survive the many roundabouts on my route into work, and after a while the strawberries mixed with sugar and made a juicy mess.
Thankfully, my collgeus liked them and I heard someone say
'Who made these strawberry santas? They taste amazing'
Chocolate sprinkle eyes!

Gingerbread people and bears
I used the PPK recipe, which i realised is also tucked at the back of Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.
I substituted Molasses for Golden Syrup and used Muscavado instead of regular sugar to give that deep flavour.
This cookies were just to my taste, crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside and not too sweet. If you have a sweet toooth its worth icing them up!
Little Bears!

Black Forrest Chocolate Yule log
I made a gluten free sponge using the Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World Chocolate cupcakes, rolled the sponge, left to cool and then iced with a vanilla butter cream and topped with frozen mixed red fruits (thawed and cooked with arrowroot) then smothered it all in Chocolate icing.


China, Christmas 2011, Vegan set menu

Christmas 2011 we were in Beijing, only 3 months into our 10 month backpacking trip, we had a lovely meal at The Veggie Table and got to see the Great Wall of China!
The Vegan Set Menu was 208Yuan, which is about £20, for China that seems a lot, but for England very cheap! It consisted of a drink, pudding and 4 savoury dishes and compared to the rice and greens I had been living off, a real treat. The Veggie Table was run by a nice American lady who I spoke with.
Egg Nog (first time to try this) and Ginger tea
Creamy green beans with crispy onion 

Cabbage and apple salad and minestrone soup

Chocolate cake with walnuts

We went back a few days later we went back for Lentil soup, more ginger tea and hot chocolate

Our favourite meal was their Mushroom burger with really good Vegan Coleslaw!

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Baked Cauliflower Mmm

Baked Cauliflower and Spinach Rice
Chop the whole Cauliflower head into even size chunks, in a bowl toss the other ingredients in and coat evenly, place on a baking tray in the oven, cook until golden brown and soft.

1 tbsp Garlic infused olive oil
1 tbsp Tamari Soya sauce
1 tsp Toasted sesame oil
Black pepper

 I like it crunchy, so I don't pre-boil it, I have this hot or cold, its so tasty!

Grazing on good food

Recently a friend gave me her graze box; two of the items were vegan, so I happily munched them and gave the other two to my partner to eat.
I’ve known about graze a little while, only signed up this month. I was at first worried not a lot would be vegan, but once you sign up you can “BIN” any non-vegan items; So all things with yoghurt, honey and milk powder gone, YAY!
The first box is free, and you can actually cancel your subscription at any time.
My first box was a mix of fruits and nuts, lots of goji berries and a little chocolate very healthy.
My second box had ‘Jaffa cake’, herby bread basket, afternoon tea and crumble and pure vitality. Less healthy but got eaten quickly! I couldn’t believe the herby crouton style bread basket was only 83calories as it felt quite indulgent. The Jaffa cake orange flavoured raisins are so tasty!
With all their promotions they seem to be growing from strength to strength and are expanding to the USA soon.
Its £3.89 per box and the delivery is free, and the box is designed to fit in your post box. Any friends who join can earn you a £1 off or a charitable donation to farming in Uganda.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Gingery Bok Choy Noodles with Thai Broccoli

Taking a leaf out of Appetite for Reduction pg176, I made this delicious noodle stir-fry. The recipe calls for a few lovely fresh Bok Choys, an onion, ginger, garlic and soy sauce.
I specially bought some Gluten Free and Vegan King Soda noodles, organic brown rice noodles.
The noodles came in 3 individually wrapped portions...three is a random number
It was definitely a quick weeknight meal, as apposed to a fancy dinner party meal. It was lovely to have a nice oriental flavour, I followed the recipe and i would suggest being heavy handed with Garlic and Ginger, and I also added some of the Vegan Chinese Mushroom sauce too.
I made some Thai Green Broccoli to go with it. 
 In a sauce pan heat some Thai Green Curry paste for 5 minutes and adding 1/2 a cup of coconut milk to make this sauce, add some pre-steamed Broccoli and coat.
*Tip: I freeze coconut milk into little ice cube trays once I have opened a can. This recipe uses 3 Ice cubes of coconut.

I really enjoyed this, but I needed the addition of the vegan oyster sauce, my partner isn't the biggest fan of Bok Choy in the first place and I like my veggies crunchy. The leaves turned into silky spinach-like greens and the stem a nice crunchy mouthful, most people would probably cook the stem a little longer than I did.


Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

I was really inspired by the PPK Roasted Butternut Alfredo post, also recently made by Vegan in Brighton, I decided it was time to make some pasta! 
So with my new love of Macaroni, I made a delicious creamy pasta.
I also added some leek instead of onion and made a lightly cheesy sauce to go with it all.
I would love to say this is the end of my Butternut addiction, but I just finishes making soup and still have one whole squash left!

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Last Vegan Mofo; Butternut Squash Cupcakes!

I haven’t quite reached peak Butternut squash consumption.

Since I am trying to explore more of the awesome range of recipes from Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World, today on my last Mofo Day, I made Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes.

I know what you’re thinking; my post says ‘Butternut Squash’, very observant. Yes I swapped the tinned pumpkin up for fresh roasted, Mmm!
I also made another swap, to make these Gluten Free Cupcakes by using Dove Farms Flour.
I made the accompanying Cinnamon icing to top the cake. The book suggests going 'Pollock style' on the icing, I took this way to literally...who wants to clean my kitchen?
I do love this cakes, so much sugar, might not be good to eat them before bed though.

Next time I would use less chocolate chips.
They are nothing like the Carrot Cupcakes, I would like to experiment with a bit more spice and try these without chocolate chips too.

I will be doing a farewell to Mofo, the highlights and favourite new bloggers.  Looking forward to spending this next year thinking of themes for next October!


Monday, 29 October 2012

Vegan Mofo 1st's; Butternut addiction

I couldn’t resist buying a beautiful, seasonal Butternut Squash, and picked one up the other day with absolutely no recipes in mind.
The deliciousness was shared out into;
First having roasted ¼ of squash with Marinated Tofu and salad
Then Parsnip, Ginger and Butternut Squash soup (winning combo)
Today I made Carrot and Butternut soup
Feeling pretty Autumny at the moment as the weather has seriously turn, and my ‘big coat’ is still in the loft, so it has becoming a very ‘Hot Soup’ and ‘Ginger Black Tea’ affair in my household.
Sadly now all the squash is gone...
Can I restrain myself from buying another? I don’t think so.
Exciting plans include; substituting Squash for Pumpkin to make a spicy sweet cake.
More Butternut soups, and... Butternut Squash Pasta!
Mmm...so much Squash in my life.
Might explore the idea of growing them myself next year, (tips welcome) so I can have a steady supply on my doorstep.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Vegan Mofo 1st's Sri Lankan Soya Curry

 Soya meat, TVP very popular in Sri Lanka, but we didn’t notice as much of vegetarian presence compared with nearby India, but there is a strong Buddhist tradition.
Their favourite use of TVP is “Devilled” a term which is used a lot in Sri Lanka is usually means a chilli dish; devilled instant noodles.

We visited Anuradhapura, in the north of the island, and spend one day cycling around the ancient city ruins. There wasn’t a huge selection of restaurants and our hotels offerings looked really grim and overpriced compared to local eateries (the cheap room and free Wi-Fi were the main benefits).
We found a nice place to eat above the supermarket and we ate our lunch and dinner there that day. We chose the Devilled soya, which was little raspberry shaped pieces cooked in a tasty sauce with some stir fried veg and rice.

In the supermarket there was shelf upon shelf of packaged dry soya meats, in all kinds of meat, fish and curry flavours. Before we left the south of the island a few days before the end of our trip we picked up three packets. Two of which were ‘cuttlefish’ style, which I love the novelty that they are shaped like Cheerios when dry!

Last night I wanted to cook curry, I usually do this from scratch, but we realised there was a jar of Lloyd Grossman Bhuna sauce in the cupboard, bought on a whim and taking up space. So I cooked up an aubergine and butternut squash curry in one pan and the ‘Cuttlefish’ in the other. Wow! This was such a lovely curry flavour, every time I walked back in the kitchen the smell was a wonderful reminder…mmmmm

Which reminds me, I send a packet of this away as part of the Vegan Swap Box this month to the lovely Sarah at:


I hope she has as much success with the soya meat :)

Vegan Mofo 1st Mac and Cheese

Now, I’ve had cheesy sauced pasta a bunch of times, but it occurred to me I’ve never cooked, or eaten macaroni shaped pasta!!
How has that happened?
Well I picked up a bag of the tubed shaped pasta and set to work making myself a HUGE pot of carby goodness for this weekend.
I’m off to Plymouth to see A Fist Full of Blockers Roller Derby Bout, and I’m pretty unsure what the food options will be, so be on the safe side I made this delicious cheesy pasta!
I cooked the pasta in one pan whilst in another pan began the sauce and vegetable. I began by sautéing one medium Courgette (Zucchini) with one clove of garlic in a little oil. Once the veg was softened I added the remainder of my Parmesan (made the other day) and half a cup of soya milk.
I threw the pasta into this slightly runny sauce, knowing that as I will be eating it cold, this will prevent it dry out.
I’m looking forward to trying the Appetite for Reduction Mac and Trees too, pasta and cheese get lonely without a green vegetable.
Whats your favourite Mac and Cheese combination?

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Vegan Mofo 1st; Cheese!

As part of my Vegan 1st's, I'm going back to basics, and cheese is totally on the list. I use shop bought Vegan Cheese a lot, so why not have the power to make it at home?

I'm oftern asked; "Whats vegan cheese made of?" and to be honest I have no idea what goes into Cheezly and Scheese.

 This week I made my own cheese, so the next person who asks I'll point this way.
I love how simple the ingredients to this are, except the Agar agar, which I have never used, didn't know where to find and found to be Crazy expensive, but I have found other recipes which call for it, including the Boston Cream pie in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World.

Hard White Cheese

11 fl oz (300 ml) water
2 tsp Agar Agar powder
3 1/2 oz (100g) Raw cashew nuts
1/2 oz (12g) nutritional yeast flakes
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp sesame tahini
1-2 tsp onion granules
1-2 tsp mustard powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic granules.
1. Boil the water and sprinkle agar agar powder on top. Stir and simmer till the flakes have dissolved.
2. Place in a food processor together with the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth. Place in a mould e.g. margarine tub.
3. Chill in fridge overnight.
Great with Crackers and vegetables Crudités, this makes a lot so you can have it for breakfast, lunch, snack and share a bit, if you are feeling generous.

It’s not a cheese for melting or putting on toast or pizza...sadly these are my favourite uses of vegan cheese!

So as you can see the cheese is pretty soft, it’s comparable to a cheesy mustardy hummus really, maybe I will thicken the Agar Agar more next time, or use more of it. I also used Dark Tahini, but would trade up for light next time or use a little less.  I would make this again; this is a great Pate style spread or dip for crackers and vegetables. I added a lot of black pepper when I ate it to spice it up a little bit.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Vegan Mofo; tortilla española; con patata, cebolla y tomate

Spanish Omlette
This experiment was a total success - what a happy surprise, even my ovo-veg bf was impressed and wanted to eat more.
I developed recipe from a rough idea of; scrambled tofu I made years ago, recipe books I’ve read, and what I imagine is in a non-vegan Spanish Omelette. I read the difference between and omelette and a Spanish omelette is the oven grilling, so what about a frittata? I won’t get caught up in the specifics, but this did go in the oven/grill so it’s all good, right?
I started with the potato, onion and tomato and created the tofu mix while the potato was cooking, I leave the skins on for extra taste and fiber, peeling isnt cool.
My basic idea was to add spices to the tofu that I thought would make it taste good and nothing over powering. Cheesy flavour from Nutritional Yeast. Garlic and onion powder were recent discoveries and great to set up the savoury flavour in this, I had Paprika in the spice rack, but splash out on Spanish paprika if you wish. The Turmeric was mostly for colour, but also gives an earth taste.
I’ve been having serious mustard cravings, so tone it down if you are less of a fan. I tasted as I went and adjusted to taste. I could have spiced this up a little more, but honestly it had a good kick already. This Tofu mix could be used as a dip or spread as well, so pull some out to use later if you like the taste.
I would love to try this again with some Chorizo pieces, which are usually quite oily, so would require a reduction in oil.
Almost managed to turn it out on the plate perfectly...

Sliced onion
Cooked Potato cubed
Sliced tomato
I pack Tofu
3 Spoonfuls of Engevieta, Nutritional Yeast
1 teaspoon Olive oil/ Tomato oil (from a jar of sundried tomatoes)
Soya milk
¼ teaspoon Mustard powder
¼ teaspoon Mustard
1 teaspoon Garlic powder
1 teaspoon Onion powder
1 teaspoon Paprika
¼ teaspoon Tumeric
Salt and pepper

Fry onion on a high heat in a little oil until lightly brown, add cooked potato and brown the edges, add the tomato slices in for a minute and season with salt and pepper.
Pour Tofu mixture into pan and fold into with other ingredients; let this cook whilst stirring to cook the tofu mixture, like you would with scrambled tofu.  When it starts feeling more firm, at least 10 minutes, leave it to become solid on the bottom. Pop this under the grill with a few sprays of cooking oil to let it crisp up.
Shake the pan to loosen the Tortilla.
Check by eye and when its browned up; Turn out onto a plate (carefully) and slice up.

Serve with a nice big dressed salad, or a hearty breakfast with Baked Beans and toast.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Vegan 1st; Oyster Sauce and Toasted Sesame Oil

Before I left for travelling my aunt kindly bought me a bottle of Vegan Chinese style Oyster sauce. with the recent success of marinated tofu, I decided to make a dinner having another go at the tofu.
I also picked up some Toasted Sesame Oil, in the spirit of trying new things.

Tofu Veggies and brown rice

I made a HUGE stir fry, so dinner for 2 and lunch for 2 sorted! I was amazed at how much of a Punch of flavour the Toasted Sesame Oil gave to the stir fry. Ive never used it before, but a few drops gives a strong slightly chinese taste. 
I loved the Mushroom sauce, it was rich, full of flaour and not over-sweet. I have used mushroom sauce once before, in Thailand at the cooking school, I think we used it for Pad Thai.

Huge Bowl of Veggies

Stir frying the Veggies

Yummy Sauce