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Monday 5 January 2009

I said BRRRRRR it's cold in here...

.....There must be some Toros in the atmosphere. OH EE OH EE OH ICE ICE ICE.

Ahem, sorry. So how hard did it suck having to go back to work this morning?? Ergh. The flat was freezing and so was the office – all day because it had snowed last night. So I was glad to have some leftover soup from yesterday’s dinner for lunch to warm me up at lunchtime.

See look - poor old Jeff was all frosty today!

In other news – I’m moving out of my flat in 3 weeks’ time. I’m looking for a new place because I’ve just had it with my wanker landlord, plus this place is too small – especially the kitchen! So I’ll be staying with my parents for a month or so while I find a new place. This means my blogging might be affected somewhat but hopefully not too much. I’m looking forward to having a new (hopefully bigger) kitchen to bake in! J So anyway, back to the food.....

This was yesterday's dinner and it was awesome. It was a result of feeling totally uninspired to cook anything and staring into the fridge for ages. Normally soup & bread just don't cut it for dinner time but this was really filling and warming. It had potato, roasted peppers & jerk seasoning but I'm struggling with coming up with a name for it. It's going in the zine though!

With soda bread... YUM!

Saturday's brekkie - Celine's awesome peanut butter & chips granola, that I threw some cashews into as well. Next time, I think I'll roast the nuts for a bit firs as they were a bit raw but it still rocked. I used regular chocolate chips and some of the white chocolate I got for thingymas.

Saturday, I decided to have another go at my chicken style seitan. First thing it went into was some stew & dumplings.

Today I breaded it and baked it and served it with soft polenta with sweetcorn added and VWAV Punk Rock Chickpea Gray - gah that stuff is rad! This meal doesn't look all that healthy but I think it was really as there's hardly any oil in the gravy and I ignored my instinct to fry the seitan and baked it.

In the past I haven’t had a lot of luck with the boiling method, that sounds so easy in Veganomicon! Last time, although it tasted good it still was a bit puffier than I’d liked (the dreaded “brains” appearance) and they stuck to the pan and I only really had one out of 4 that held it’s shape. Plus the stock wasn’t really usable in other recipes as it was full of little bits of seitan that had fallen off during the cooking. So I knew I needed to experiment with the cooking method and this is what I came up with and it worked superbly! Here is what they looked like this time.

Recipe is below as well. I used a half cup measure for each cutlet and it made 4, but they were HUGE ass cutlets so next time, I’m going to try use a 1/3C measure I think.

Dry Ingredients:
1 cup + 2 tbsp (145g) Vital Wheat Gluten
¼ cup (4 tbsp) Nutritional Yeast
2 tsp poultry seasoning (see pic)
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp thyme
1 tsp veggie or faux chicken bullion powder (or use cold stock instead of water)
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
Wet Ingredients:
1 cup + 2 tbsp (280ml) cold water
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp olive oil

Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl and the wet in a jug. Pour the wet into the dry and mix it well with a metal spoon or spatula until it comes together. It will look sloppy and like there’s not enough dry ingredients – don’t worry, it’s meant to look like that. Now get your hand in and knead it just for a minute or so.

Heat up a non-stick frying pan on a medium heat. It’s very important that the pan is non-stick as you’re not going to add any oil to it. Split the dough into 4 or 6 (depending how big you want them) and flatten them into cutlets. Do 2 at a time and flatten them out a bit more with your spatula on the pan. Cook them for a 1-1.5 minutes (keep the heat fairly low/medium) then flip them and cook for another 1-1.5 minutes. Remove from heat and put on a plate, then do the next 2.

This doesn’t cook them so they will be very soft and a wee bit tricky to turn and remove from the pan, but just be patient and you’ll get them out fine. I used 2 spatulas and that seemed to make it easier.

Cut out 4 (or 6) squares of parchment, about the size of the cutlets (don’t worry if they’re a bit small).

Fill a large pan with COLD stock. Take each cutlet and place it on a square of parchment, then gently lower it into in the pan and push it to the bottom. Repeat with all the cutlets and try and place them on alternate sides of the pan.

Turn on the flame and bring it to the boil. Once boiling, turn it down straight away to a low simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Every now and then, push the cutlets down with your spatula (they tend to rise to the top). After 30 minutes, turn off the heat and leave them to cool completely in the stock (or until you need them). Store them in the fridge in an airtight container, immersed in the cooking liquid (which you can use as stock in other recipes).

To use them, I just gently press out as much of the water as I can, between 2 pieces of kitchen towel – especially important if you’re breading them.

This is the chicken seasoning blend I use and instead of faux chicken stock (which I can't find) I use these incredibly disgusting soups. They taste mingin alone but used for stock they are good. I use one sachet in the dry ingredients and 2 mixed with water for the cooking liquid.

Another use for my seitan was fajitas. I put loads of guacamole, soya yoghurt and roasted onions & peppers on with the seitan. MMM MMM MM! They were good.

Extreme close up - MOLEY MOLEY MOLEY!

OK I've made myself want to watch Bring it On so that's what I'm gonna go do!


  1. i keep forgetting about soda bread, Sal - thanks for the tasty reminder! your soup sounds rock'n too! hope it keeps ya warm! hooray for snow, and sadface for having to go back to work. i've got just an hour left here and time couldn't be going any slower. ugh.

    nice call on baking the seitan - it looks great! your fajitas = the best - and that guac = heaven! your stew looks like some seriously rad comfort food - and granola!?! hot damn, Sal! deeeeeeeelicious!

    stay warm! and good luck in the hunt for a new flat! i'll keep my fingers crossed for ya!

  2. 's cold oop north too! Sorry you're having 'landlord issues' - for similar reasons I became queen of the moonlight flit in south Manchester back in the mid-90s... ah! Happy, reckless, possessions-in-a-binliner days!
    Love the idea of you staring blankly at your fridge, too! For someone who started out without any ideas, that soup looks DAMN tasty!

  3. good luck finding a new place!! wanker is totally one of my fav words.

  4. all your eats look divine, oh and great bring it on refernce! love that movie KDunst at her finest (kinda!) anyway hope you have a good move

  5. the stew looks superb! yums yums

  6. Mmm, that soup with no name looks so tasty and warming!

    I wish you good luck in finding a new apartment with a giant kitchen!

  7. *Waves* Hi Jeff! :)

    Soup and bread, stew and dumplings... you sure know how to warm up when it's so cold!

    Thanks for the seitan recipe, Sal. I've never made seitan... never ever! What kind of a lame vegan am I?

  8. Oh, and good luck finding a new home for you and Jeff!

  9. How much snow do you usually get each winter? If that bit of frost was all we ever got, I would be happy. So far this winter season(Dec 1-Jan4) we have had 40+ inches. Off to make cheezy biscuits for the sofa slug.

  10. I love Jeff! Our car's called Mark >:o)
    And from where did you procure the 10 calorie soup, may I ask?
    I thought I was pretty clever when I came up with the genius idea to use the 'chicken' flavour sachets that come with 10p basic range instant noodles (which are vegan) to give my seitan a 'chickeny' flavour~ I didn't feel so clever when I tasted it though!Doh! SO RANK! Heehee!
    And I think it's very brave of you to call our 'non-weather' particularly cold when I know that at least one Alaskan reads your blog! Mwahahaha!!
    Good luck finding a new place too!

  11. Jan - that's probably about it for our 'snow'. But it's cold and I am not very sensible when it comes to dressing for winter, I really need to buy some warmer clothes!

    Becks, I found them in Morrisons, they don't always have the chicken ones so I tend to buy about 3 packs at a time! Seriously though don’t bother eating one as a soup – they are freaking foul, so chemical-y!! And as stock for other stuff not great – but when you cook seitan in them, it works and the resulting stock is good too, I used it in the polenta last night! MMM. Ahahaha, seitan comes up on my spellcheck as seaman!! Hahahah!

  12. ha! how I love the license plate you gave to Jeff.
    not digging the thought you might have less computer time in the near future, but that's totally understandable. I hope it'll all go smoothly for you!

  13. Shiver me timbers!
    Looks like I left Blighty in the nick of time.
    All your food looks nommy but those Fajitas!!
    Holey Moley Schmoley!!
    I'm moving soon as well ( soon as I find somewhere - minor details...)so I wish you all the best in finding somewhere right for you.

  14. It's all cold here too, but there's snow so I forgive the weather :p

    Celine's granola creations are all excellent and very tasty and the rest of your food looks yummy, too.

    Good luck with finding a new place.

  15. Haha poor Jeff!

    Ohmigosh dumplings! I had some last night-- heavenly!

  16. This post is so full of goodness!

    I agree, you gotta play with seitan to get it how you want. Texture can be a weird thing. But that fajita looks incredible and I just want to dive into the guac.

    The soup and stew look so good!

  17. whoa! thanks for the recipe, sal! i rarely simmer my seitan (steaming just works best for me), but i may give it another go for this. all the stuff you made with it looks so goooooood... 'specially the fajitas. i love the guacamole pic! also - those dumplings you made look just like the dumplings of my youth that i was talking about in my most recent post. can we have a recipe for them? pleasey please? and, since i'm behind, i must tell you that those blondies in your last post look simply incredible. well done!

  18. oh wait. i totally forgot to mention how i say that cheer from bring it on all the time and it drives michael crazy. i really love that movie, for some reason that i don't quite understand, but am completely fine with. ICE ICE ICE!

  19. yeah no probs, I'll try to remember to put the dumpling recipe in my next post.

  20. First of all, your fajitas are the sexiest I've ever seen.
    Now, I'm sorry your freezing - we are too here in France - what the frick is up with this weather? It's been snowing here for two days, and it never snows!
    I want your dumplings, even if it sounds dirty, and Celine's granola is just too good to be true!
    Good luck with your move & living with the rents. I hope you find something wonderful!

    Sorry - have to say, the word verification is "dingue", which means crazy in French - LOVE IT!

  21. seitan scares me but you make it look amazing! and that moley... hubba hubba... okay that was awkward... but so is bring it on! hhehehe... HAppy New Year!

  22. that guac. holy moly.

    i think i'm going to try your seitan chicken recipe... it seems so versatile.


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