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Thursday 24 December 2009

Snow is fallin' all around me....

.... OK the snowing stopped, but you gotta love a bit of Shaky at Chrimbo!

It's Christmas Eve - YAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!! I love Christmas and I'm in the process of making the food for tonight and getting the flat ready for my friends to come round before we go out!

So onto the food pics. I dug out my battered old breville sandwich toaster the other day to make this awesome sarnie, I called it pizza toasted sarnie, because it really was pizza-y! That's mozarella cheezly, tomatoes, black pepper and dried oregano. YUMMO.

Gooey cheezly - the only way I can eat vegan cheese - melted to oblivion!

I believe I mentioned cupcakes last time.... here they are. My best friend's husband turned 30 this week so I made these to celebrate. VCTOtW Golden Vanilla cupcakes that I added some chocolate chips and a bit of mint extract to. The icing is just a basic chocolate buttercream that I also added mint extract to.

And here - more cheezly. This was disgustingly trashy and freakin awesome. I made mac & noochy cheeze sauce then put some breadcrumbs on top and put it under the grill a few minutes. Then I added some bacos and cheezly and gave a couple more minutes under the grill. Trashy comfort food at it's best.

This was gonna be dinner for me and my friends on monday but they both got stuck in those ridiculous traffic jams coming home from work and didn't get to mine at all, so I had leftovers the next day. It was these nuggets that I made from black eyed beans and barley then coated in cornmeal and fried (probably what gave me acid reflux attack - haha oops!). I'm working on the recipe still and I'm going to bake them next time to be safe, but they were almost there.

The next day was pretty miserable because of the afore-mentioned acid reflux pain. All I could face cooking and eating was soup, so I chunked up an onion, a big parsnip and about 5 big carrots, the stalks of a bunch of coriander leaves and cooked them in stock for 20 mins. Then I added some soymilk and the leaves of the coriander and blended. It was yummy.

And a sneak peak of tonight's xmas eve foodz - peanut butter krispie balls (hee hee). There's tonnes of recipes out there and someone put some they'd made on their blog last week (I've forgotten who and didn't bookmark it so whoever you are - sorry!) and they looked so good I knew I had to have a go. So I mixed up peanut butter, rice krispies and some other stuff and rolled into balls (hee hee) then put a big old blob of melted choccie on top. I'll post the recipe next time.

I've also got some fudge in the fridge that doesn't appear to be setting up, even though I followed the recipe to a T! if it hasn't set in the next hour I'm going to have to try and salvage it - will report back next time!!

So as Shaky says "ooooh ooooooooh oooooh ooooh oooh oooooohh - shooby dooby dooby doo wop....!" Wait no sorry, "I mean Merry Christmas Everyone!!" and I'll see ya in 2010!


Friday 18 December 2009

When the Snowman brings the snow, well he just might like to know.....


Woo it's almost Christmas AND I woke up this morning to a lovely layer of snow over my balcony! GREAT BIG SMILE MR SNOWMAN!! I'm choosing to ignore the horrible 2 minute car journey to the gym this morning, yes I am!

Thought I'd start off the food pics with a pretty one - cookies!! I knew I wanted to make some cookies for me & my friends for after dinner last night because I've been dying to make something from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. I settled on the Ginger & Macadamia drop cookies because I had all the ingredients in the cupboard - but only because for some unknown reason, the other day when I was in the supermarket I bought macadamias on an impulse!

These were so good and my friends loved them too. It's a good thing I only made a half batch because we ate too many! hee hee.

Here's dinner the other day. I mixed together some soy sauce, maple syrup, spices, lime juice and a bit of olive oil and cooked a piece of tempeh in it. It was yum! I had it with some corn/cucumber salsa, avocado chunks, some peppers and onions cooked up with spices and some tomato puree and some basmati rice.

I struggled to get a good pic of this - miso soup that I threw together for lunch one day when I just needed something light. Miso, veggie stock, spring onions, coriander leaves, yellow pepper and tofu. yum & quick!

Ooh now these were really good! Giada de Laurentis made these stuffed portabellas on TV the other day and I decided to do something similar. I crumbled up some tempeh and sauteed it with an onion and some sausagey spices and herbs. Then I mixed together some fresh thyme, parsley and breadcrumbs. Grilled the mushroom for 5 mins on each side then filled it with the tempeh and then breadcrumb mix. Then topped with cheezly mozarella. YUM. I just had some steamed grean & edamame beans on the side.

This is a recipe I'm working on. I have the icing perfect and the spices but I need to work on a few bits with cupcakes. Stay tuned...!

The view from my flat this morning! :-)

My balcony....

And my christmas tree! I even managed to get the pic when it was snowing outside! I should have taken one at night really though, cuz it looks prettier in the dark.

I promise one more post before chrimbo and next time - there will be cupcakes!


Friday 11 December 2009

Malta Foodz

Hi all, I'm back. Ok you got me I been back since Sunday, but better late than never eh? Malta was awesome, we had beauty treatments, walked by the sea, took an open top bus tour and ate lots of foodz.

Starting with the plane journey there. I was pleasantly surprised with the vegan meal - as gross as it looked, it was actually not so bad! It was veggies in a tomato sauce with rice, fruit salad and a roll. The fruit salad was really good, sometimes they're dry but it wasn't at all.

The first night we'd planned to go to the restaurant in the hotel but it was shut for a private function. So we walked (in the rain!) till we found a restaurant. We settled for an italian place, because almost every restaurant in Malta is Italian! They had a vegan option though anyway, a veggie pizza, so that's what I had.

The second night we made it to the restaurant in the hotel but I forgot my camera. Don't worry though, we went back, it was that good! So there are some pics in a bit.

Night 3 and we went to a tex mex place and were disappointed. We both had the veggie burrito and it was kinda bland and a bit sickly. The rice was good though and my mojito was awesome.

On the friday we had our beauty treatments and cuz the weather sucked, we ordered a film and went to the local supermarket to buy stuff for a bed picnic. The local supermarket was pretty good, I managed to get soymilk, soy yoghurts, alpro chocolate desserts and vegan butter!

One of the things we got for our picnic was this Bigilla. It's a bean pate made with Tic Beans - something I've never heard of before. It was really tasty, I have no idea what herbs & spices were in it though.

The spread - wholewheat crostinis, local hummus, Bigilla, Kinnie (the Maltese local drink, which I grew to love), sherbet fountain and Crix which are pb flavoured crisps! Basically they're peanut butter & cornmeal, fried. Good stuff but sickly so I could only eat a few.

And lastly, the meal on our last night at the hotel restaurant. It's an awesome restaurant and if you ever go to malta, I would recommend paying a visit to the Palace Hotel in Sliema and going to the TemptAsian. It has all different Asian cuisines on the menu and I just ordered a bunch of vegan stuff for me & mum. We got:

Miso Soup

Yaki Soba Noodles

Vietnemese style sushi (rice paper rolls with veggies and tofu)

Tempura veggies (SO good)

And schzezuan aubergin - this stuff was seriously so yummy! We had it both times we went there.

I didn't get a pic of the plane meal on the way home, it was pretty boring pasta in tomato sauce!

Anyway, I think my muffins are about down so I'm off now - pix next time.


Monday 30 November 2009

Camera clearance and a crap tonne of tofu!

This time tomorrow - I'll be in Malta!! WOOO! Mummy Alien and Me are flying out tomorrow for 4 nights in a gorgeous hotel and I'm SOOOO excited. Here's hoping it doesn't rain.

So I had to clear out my camera and found a tonne of old pics but most were so boring, I deleted them. So here are the ones that made the cut.

My new favourite thing to do with polenta - tomato polenta! So easy and quick (recipe at end although a monkey could probably work it out really it's so easy!). Firstly with black bean/sweetcorn/cucumber salsa and roasted butternut squash.

Is it me or does it look kinda like Jabba the Hut??

So good I had it again the next night. And the squash (just toss it in oil and curry powder and bake at 200C for 20 mins - delish!). With spinach and smoked tofu. There's a lot of pics with that tofu (Taifun smoked tofu with almonds and sesame seeds) in this post! Now they sell it at waitrose, I have it a lot. It's sooo good.

Tofu again! With giant wholewheat couscous that I just cooked in veggie stock. The beany thing is my take on pepperonata that I saw Rachael Ray making on TV. I used onions, peppers and tomato puree, garlic and a good dose of chipotles in adobo sauce. I had some butter beans in the fridge to use up so I added those too. Spicy yum.

A rarity - salad! I don't really have salad that often as I find it so boring but this was good. I had some cabbage left so I made some coleslaw. Cabbage, carrot - no onion. Also I only used 1 tsp of plamil mayo and about 2 tbsp of soya yoghurt to make it a bit lighter. I also added some mustard, it rocked. buried under it are butter beans, yellow pepper, cucumber and baby spinach. Oh and there's that tofu again!

This is what most of my Sunday dinners have looked like lately - I love me some TVP chunks!! Cooked on a low oven (150C) slow (about 1.5-2 hrs) with stock, veggies and red wine. I put it in the oven before I go to the gym and it's ready after body pump and SO good. With lots of mash and a flatbread (I had dough in the freezer from the flatbreads I made in the last post).

This was brunch last weekend. I made these TVP sausage patties (I actually only ate 1 in the end they were pretty filling). I've been working on making these without using vital wheat gluten and so far I haven't got it quite right! They taste awesome but still are a bit too soft. ah well, here they are with tofu scramble and a coffee chip muffin (recipe from Vegan Brunch - awesome!!!) and coffee. I love weekends!

Oh and big shocker - there's that tofu again!! hahaha, with rice that I cooked in stock and herbs and threw some roasted squash into, with a side of broccoli.

That's it until I'm back from Malta, when I will also catch up with everyone's blogs (I been bad at that lately :( - sorry!!).

Oh right, except that polenta recipe right....

Per person:
1 cup (250ml) veggie stock (mine looks dark in the pic cuz I use Vecon, which makes it dark)
1/4 cup (40g) polenta
1 plum tomato, deseeded and chopped fine
1 tsp vegan butter
1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
salt & pepper to taste

Bring the stock to the boil and then turn down slightly and add the polenta in a slow steady stream, whisking all the time. Keep whisking for a minute or so until most of the lumps are gone (a few are ok).

Turn the heat down to medium and throw in the chopped tomato. Cook, whisking occasionally, for 3-5 minutes or until cooked. The tomato will mostly break down which is awesome!

After the 3 mins are up, turn of the heat, add the butter, nooch and season to taste. Eat asap before it starts setting up on ya!

See ya next time, with pictures of (probably really dodgy) vegan airplane food - if they get it right!!


Friday 20 November 2009

You know what I say when I feel like swearing? Fudge!

Been a bad blogger again haven't I!! Well I won't bore you with yakety yak, I'll just get on with pics of some of my recent eats. Starting with Wednesday night's dinner: Roasted tofu and stuffing balls (just packet mix), steamed cabbage, mash and roasty carrots. Sunday lunch on a wednesday night, perfect!

This was a really quick meal. I just sprayed each side of some tofu triangles with a bit of low sodium soy sauce then rubbed some 5 spice powder in and baked it for 30 mins, flipping once. The noodles were just straight to wok rice noodles, red peppers, sliced up mange touts and carrots. I made a sauce with a little peanut butter, lemon juice, soy and 5 spice. Really quick and tasty.

This one took a bit longer, but not that much. I was in the mood for moroccan-inspired foodz. So I made a veggie tagine that had all sorts in: tofu, courgettes, red peppers, onions, brown lentils, tomatoes, apricots, spices and a bit of agave. The couscous was simple - veggie stock, lemon zest and raisins.

But the real star were the flatbreads that I made to go with them. I just eyeballed everything so don't have a recipe really but next time I'll write it down so I can post it.

This was another random dinner. I was not feeling all that inspired and hadn't been food shopping so I just pulled out whatever was in the fridge and that was basically onions, mushrooms and peas! I cooked them up and added some cashew cream (I just whizzed up some cashews and water until they were as smoothe as my processor would get them) and a tonne of nooch. On wholewheat spaghetti with some smoked tofu on the side. Not bad for an uninspired night.

Lastly, last Friday was my dad's birthday and I decided to make cupcakes from a different book than vegan cupcakes take over the world. No disrespect to that book, it's probably my favourite book ever, I just wanted something different. So I made the caramel apple spice cupcakes with penuche frosting from Veganomicon. I'm glad I did cuz they were really REALLY good!!

I found the frosting a bit hard to work with as it set up pretty quick but I got it on as good as I can. So they were not perfect - but it is home cooking after all - not bakery perfection.

The frosting made loads and it was super sweet so I didn't want to pile it all on. I really only used about a third of it on the cupcakes (which I only got 11 out of, despite it saying there'd probably be leftover batter - I guess I filled the cases too much!).

So I figured that instead of freezing yet another load of leftover frosting I'd make into fudge, as it was setting up that way already anyway. So I stired in about 1/3 cup of creamy peanut butter over a low heat to get it to mix, then put it into a plastic food box and left it to set at room temp. Once set (an hr or so later) I cut it into chunks. It was SOOOOO YUMMYYYY!!! For realz. My friends and I ate some of it with our drinks before we went out Friday night.

If you have a go at this, you might want to refrigerate it when you're done pigging out (trust me it's sweet so unless you can tolerate a crap tonne of sugar, you won't be able to eat that much of it in one sitting!). It will stay in shape at room temp but melts a little.

That's all for now, I'll try and not leave it so long next time!


(PS: Post title inspired by this scene in Supernatural. Hehe I Love Dean!!)

Tuesday 10 November 2009

Bad MoFo!

So I missed the last couple of days of MoFo and I haven't blogged for two weeks!! Gah, sorry. But I do have a recipe to make up for it, even if it isn't my own!

I'll jump right in with today's dinner. I bought some giant wholewheat couscous and I tried it out today - it's good stuff! I sauteed some mushrooms and shallots with some garlic. I crushed up some cumin & coriander seeds and added those along with about 1/2 a tsp of chipotles in adobo sauce (I got a tin in my PPK swap and I whizzed them up in my food processor so I could store it in the fridge and use them as a paste). I also added a teeny bit of liquid smoke to accentuate the smoky flavour. Good stuff. To go with it was some steamed cabbage and some baked tofu that I just sprayed with Braggs and rubbed with some spices (just a shop bought chicken seasoning!). Also some bread - I will come back to that bread!

Sunday I had a big crockpot full of chickpeas I'd put on before I went to bed Saturday night so I knew the soup I wanted to make was the Bodacious Bean & Barley Soup from Garden of Vegan - I love that soup so much.

With it, I made Rachel Allen's Wholewheat Oat & Seed Bread. I haven't got a cut pic (aside from a not great one in the first pic) but there's still some left so maybe you'll see it in the next post.

OK so this recipe isn't mine, it's Rachel Allen's. But I'm posting it here because it was on her TV programme and isn't in any of her books apparently. Also, for some weird reason UKTV food haven't put the recipe on the website, which is unusual. Rachel Allen is the shizzle - and so is this bread, so here it is. It's so easy you gotta give it a go. It's really REALLY good!! No kneading people - NO KNEADING!!!

350ml warm water
1 table spoon of agave nectar (Rachel used honey), or golden syrup or black treacle.
7g dried yeast (about 1.5 tsp)
200 g wholemeal flour
75g plain flour
75g mixed seeds (I used a combo of sesame, linseed and pumpkin seeds)
50g oats
25 g bran (I used wheat bran)
1 tsp salt
1 tablespoon sunflower oil

Grease a 1kg/2lb loaf tin. Preheat oven to 200 degrees centigrade (185-190 for fan ovens).

Measure 100ml of warm water and add the agave. Stir and add the yeast, stir again then leave for a few minutes until the yeast begins to work (you want to see a cm or so of bubbles on top of the water).

While waiting for the yeast to work mix all the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix well with your hands. When yeast is ready top it up with the other 250mls of warm water and add the sunflower oil. Stir, then make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add most of the liquid. Using your fingers bring it all together, it needs to be quite ‘sloppy’. It should look like you need to add more flour - but you don't!! (Depending on how the mix comes together, add more of the liquid if needed. If all the liquid is used and it’s still not sloppy, add a further 50-75mls of warm water - I had to add more.)

Empty into the loaf tin, give a little shake to even out then with a knife, score down the length of the loaf in the centre (apparently this prevents it cracking). If you like, sprinkle more mixed seeds on the top (I didn't), cover with a clean tea towel then leave in a warm (not hot) place to rise. This takes between 10 & 30 mins. Once risen to the top of the tin, place in the mid to lower part of the preheated oven and bake for approximately one hour.

Take it out of the oven 5-10 to mins before the hour is up and take it out of the tin. Place back in the oven out of the tin for the other 5 to 10 mins to slightly crisp the sides and base. Once you can tap it on the sides and base and it sounds hollow… it’s ready.

Friday night's dinner and I wanted chips. I was so tempted to stop at the chippy but I wanted to stick to my diet so I resisted. So I made oven chips instead and they are just as good as deep fried ones but way healthier. I just cut the potato up into chips, sprayed them with a little olive oil and then baked them at 200C for about 30 minutes, flipping once. They stuck a little because I didn't add too much oil but not enough to be an issue. Once done, give them a good shake of sea salt. YUM. I had some smoked tofu and mushy peas with them.

Oh and maybe most importantly - chip butty!! Loads of ketchup. Good stuff.


Tuesday 27 October 2009

Vegan MoFo: I pea'd on the floor!!!

:-( They fell out ma over-stuffed fridge!!!

I wish I'd taken a pic of last night's tea. I had mum & dad round and made us a chilli with cornbread muffins. Ah well. Tonight's was kind of mish-mash, cuz I didn't really know what I fancied.

Pasta with mushroom sauce, roasted sprouts and butternut squash and some Taifun smoked tofu with herbs and sunflower seeds (I <3 that stuff!!).

Maybe tomorrow i'll be more inspired!


Sunday 25 October 2009

Vegan MoFo: Sunday foodz and an ouch!

I am clumsy bint today. I caught my stupid fake nail in a drawer when I was tidying up and bent the fucker back. I think some of my real nail has come away from the nailbed, i just don't know how far down because stupid fakey is still attached. But there was blood. And pain. And a LOT of swearing.

Anyway, at least I had dinner to make feel better. I made another stew but this time I was inspired by the Barefoot Contessa's beef bourginon. So it's just onions, button mushrooms, soy chunks, stock, red wine and thyme. I also added peas cuz I <3 them.

With lots of mashed potato. YUM YUM YUM. So good.

For lunch I really wasn't all that hungry but I did have both an avocado and some tortillas in the fridge that were past their best. So I chopped up the tortillas and baked them and made some guac. And then I chomped them while watching last night's Strictly Come Dancing on the iPlayer (my stupid sky signal went out again last night). Jo is gone, at last!! hurrah. She was sweet but effin rubbish!

Did you remember to put your clocks back?? I didn't so when I was lying in bed this morn waiting for the church bells to start going off it took a minute to realise that it was actually almost 9am not 10am!! doh.

oh and Jojo - I edited my last post for you to add the soup recipe.


Saturday 24 October 2009

Vegan MoFo: Cauliflower Cheeze....


I have this block of strong cheddar sheeze and it's open so I need to use it up. I don't like the texture of it so sandwiches are out and the damn stuff doesn't melt, so it's no good for regular cauli-cheeze. So when I saw Rachel Allen make cauliflower and cheddar soup I thought I'd rip her off!

I made some changes, obviously, but more than just veganising it. She started with a bechamel sauce, added cheese and then boiled the cauliflower in stock and blended it all together.

For mine, I roasted a cauliflower, onion and some garlic first, the put it in cold stock, brought it to the boil and cooked it 5 minutes. Then added a little soymilk, some instant potato granules and my sheeze and blended it.

It was not bad. The taste of the sheeze was pretty strong but it was good. Although I doubt it'll be making a regular appearance Chez Alien! However, if you're a faux cheese lover and you want the recipe, let me know and I'll post it.

I made some breadsticks to go with it. They were awesome.

And brekkie this morning was pancakes and berry syrup, as I didn't have any maple syrup. I made common old pancakes but I added in some cocoa, next time I'd add more, but it was still good. For the syrup, I chucked some frozen fruit, the juice of an orange, a tiny bit of sugar and a dash of cinnamon in a pan and boiled it up, then pushed it through a seive. It was pretty tart, but I liked that with the chocolatey pancakes.

OK, I'm off, it's time for Strictly Come Dancing!!


For Jojo - the soup recipe

1 head of cauliflower
1 small onion
1-2 fat cloves of garlic
2 cups of veggie stock
1/2 cup soymilk
1/2 cup cheddar sheese
1/4 cup instant potato (optional to thicken the soup)
salt & pepper
Cut the cauliflower into florets, cut the onion into wedges and roast both in a little bit of olive oil (i use a spray bottle) along with the garlic still in their skins, for about 20 minutes at 180C, until the edges are lightly browned.

Tip the veggies into a pot and add the (cold) stock and a pinch of salt & pepper. Bring to the boil, cover and then simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the sheese, potato granules (it might go a bit lumpy but that's ok) and soymilk and pour into a blender. Blend until completely smooth then check seasoning. Pour back into pan and heat gently if needed.