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Wednesday 27 May 2009

let me get a nickelback…

....15 bucks little man, put that shit in ma hand, if that money doesn’t show then you owe me owe me oh! Ma jungle love (yeah!) oh ee oh ee oh. I think I wanna know ya know ya!

Ahem, sorry. Stupidness courtesy of this scene from Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back and because I couldn’t think of anything else with Nickelback in for my post title. I went to see them last night you see, at the Birmingham NIA! They were freaking aaaamazing! I know they get a lot of criticism but suck it haters – I love them and they rocked.

As well as rocking my thong off (hehe that was on some girl’s banner!!) they brought the lead singer of their support act (Black Stone Cherry – also superrad!) on for a cover of AC/DC’s Highway to Hell, which made this AC/DC lovin girl very happy. AND – the very sexy and gorgeous Ryan Peake took the lead vocals for a cover a cover of Kings of Leon’s Use Somebody – another song I love. I forgot to take my camera, damn. But here’s a vid of a similar performance of said KoL track! Hot hottie hot.

Anyway, speaking of pretty pretty things – foodz… We just had another bank holiday here in the UK and I also took yesterday and today off too so it’s been a nice long break. Having said that, I don’t have a right lot of pics for you, but that’s probably a good thing as I’m sure you’re just barely awake after my Nickelback ramblings.

This was dinner one night last week for me & my friend. A while back I made individual cottage pies with the magical combo of normal and sweet potatoes as the topping. I still don't have the filling down but I see it happening soon, so recipe pending tweakage. The topping was definitely still magical though!

Insie shot, with some steamed green veg. Rad.

Dinner friday night. I bought a jar of jerk stir fry paste and cooked up some seitan strips, peppers, mushrooms and peas in it. To go with (yes I stole this idea from VwaV) I made coconut rice (1/2 cup basmati, small (160ml) tin of coconut cream, 1/2 cup water, cook for 10 mins no lid adding more water if needed, after 10 mins turn off heat, put lid on and leave for 5 mins, stir in a tiny pinch of salt and it's good to go and oh so yummy!).

This was pud the day I made the cottage pie above. I wanted to make ice cream but for it to be low fat, so I used yoghurt instead of cream. It was delicious, but a little ice crystally (what, it's a word!) because I was too lazy to dig out the ice cream maker and just shoved it in the freezer instead. hehe. It was still good though and the recipe is below the pic!

Strawberry/Mango Yoghurt Ice Cream
4 tbsp / 1/4 cup sugar
4 tbsp / 1/4 cup water
1 punnet (1.5 cups) strawberries, hulled and halved or quartered
1 mango, cut into rough chunks (or just use extra strawberries!)
1 x 500ml carton of soya yoghurt (2 cups)
125ml / 1/2 cup light soya milk
Maple syrup

In a pan, heat the sugar and water until the sugar is just dissolved. Set aside.

Throw the strawbs, mango and yoghurt into a blender and whizz. Pour the soymilk through the feed hole and keep whizzing. Add sugar syrup and whizz again. Once smoothe, taste and if it needs to be sweeter, add a tbsp at a time of maple syrup until it's right (I only needed 1 tbsp!).

Pour into ice cream maker and freeze as per instructions. Then put into freezer to set fully.

For a soft serve (totally optional!), pull it out 20-30 mins before you want to serve it and then stick blend it till smooth and easy to scoop.

Brekkie on sunday - wholewheat banana pancakes, with lots of maple syrup! SO good.

This was lunch one day over the weekend. A salad similar to the one I posted a while back, with soba noodles, tofu, avocado and a lime dressing. Really light and tasty.

And this was today's lunch - 3M tofu sarnie (that's maple, miso & mustard!). Really easy to make and delish too. Recipe below pic.

3M Tofu (makes enough for 2 servings)
1/2 pack (about 125g) firm tofu
2 tbsp dark miso (I used barley)
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp grain mustard (I used beer mustard - yum!)
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp water
big pinch black pepper

Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.

Drain and press the tofu, then slice into thin squares (or whatever shape you like - they should be about 1/2 cm thick) and place on a baking sheet.

Whisk together the sauce ingredients and then brush the tofu pieces with it. Flip and brush the other side. Be generous but make sure there's enough left for another brushing. Bake for 10 minutes, then flip, baste with the rest of the sauce and bake another 10 minutes.

If you cut the tofu thicker, it'll need longer in the oven.

I put mine on my favourite Burgen bread with vegan mayo, thinly sliced tomato and brocco-sprouts. YUM!

Thank you and good night!! (I wanna be a rock star!)

Thursday 21 May 2009

Go shorty, it's ya birthday! We gonna party like it's ya birthday.....

Firstly and most importantly - today is my Mum's birthday. Happy birthday Mummy Alien!!! These are the cupcakes I made her to celebrate (last week as she's currently on holiday). They are VCTOtW gingerbread cupcakes (SOOO GOOD!!) with a lemon buttercream. The buttercream wasn't as pretty as I'd hoped because I used unrefined icing sugar in a bid to be a bit healthier, which gives the icing a sort of grey tone that even a buttload of yellow food colouring can't cover. Ah well, they tasted good!

It also turns out that last week was a workmate's birthday but none of us knew as he was working abroad at the time. So I offered to make him a belated chocolate cake and here it is. It is a double batch of VCTOtW (best book ever???) basic chocolate, with chocolate buttercream and a lot of blueberry jam to sandwich it together and chocolate sprinkles! I ran out of cocoa so I had to wing the icing and I melted a cup of chocoalte chips to go in instead and it is insanely good!!

My other workmates are all giving him the eye right now trying to get him to cut it but he is making everyone wait!!

Back to non-birthday cake pics! This is a recipe I'm working on - it's a take on a malt loaf with pumpkin seeds in. It was yummy but I don't have the texture right yet.

It's not very sweet so it was a perfect vehicle for lots of raspberry jam!

This was dinner one night last week. My workmate gave me some amazing asparagus from her garden - it was so good, just roasted with a little olive oil, salt & pepper. The pasta sauce was a few sunblushed tomatoes packed in olive oil and garlic, blended with a whole red pepper (de-seeded but skin left on) and some other stuff that I forget. It was good though.

Friday night is always the night where I can be a bit naughty I think as it's the start of the weekend. So I made some seitan cutlets and breaded them and fried them in a little oil. They were soooo good. I don't have my book on me to post the recipe but basically I just added some beans to my basic seitan recipe. I've seen this tip on other blogs and it really does make such a difference to the texture. Definitely gonna be doing that again in the future! Also starring alongside the seitan - curly fries and posh mushy peas (with soya yoghurt instead of tofu).

I made fajitas with some of my seitan last weekend. I was just craving guacamole and this is what I came up with. They were good!

My brother came to stay with me last weekend. It was lovely to spend some time with him, as he lives in London and I don't get to see him as much as I'd like. We watched daft films and behaved silly! Plus no matter how old I get, I know that when I'm feeling run down and crap like I was last week, I can always count on my big bro to ignore all that, point right at my coldsore and scream "ERRRRR ERRRRRR ERRRRRRRRRGGGHHH!!!" like a 5 year old! Good times.

Despite that, I made us chilli & cornbread for dinner!

I decided this week to have another go at making some tofu. So I dragged the soyquick out and decided this time to throw in some rosemary from my 'garden' and some sun-dried tomatoes. It's pretty good! I did chuck some crumbled up into some pasta last night and it was tasty but ugly so I didn't photograph it! It would be perfect crumbled onto a salad I think because it has a sort of feta like texture!

I pan-fried some and served it with taters and a quick veg stir-fry, with just a little garlic and salt & pepper.

That's all for today. Wanna hear something scary though - it is less than 2 weeks now until I turn 30. But don't worry, I have no intention of becoming a grown-up!!

Monday 11 May 2009

Tell me why..... I don't like Mondays!

How much do Mondays suck! Today was just one of those crap Mondays. However, the sun is shining though so it's not all bad!

Just a few pics today. I made a few things last week that were pretty cack so didn't bother to take a picture of them.

This one is yet another attempt to make something similar to Wagamama's Yasai Itame - I still don't have it, but this was not bad.

I had some coconut milk leftover from the soup so I made a quick stir fry, added some cooked spelt wheat and added some of the coconut milk to it. It was pretty damn good!

Friday night I had 4 girlfriends round for dinner and I totally forgot to take pics of the food. I made beanburgers and spicy rice and a salad of green beans. It was good. I did get a pic of pud though - chocolate orange cake (wheat-free, for my wheat-intolerant friend). There were absolutely no leftovers from dinner or dessert, so it's safe to say it went down well!

Lastly - yesterday's Sunday: soup & sarnie. I made some homemade wraps and filled them with curry tofu and salad - they were killer and I made 2 so today I had the leftover one for lunch and it was even better today.

And the soup was just a bunch of veg I had in the fridge (sweetcorn, onions, fennel, yellow pepper, chickpeas & a tomato), with some stock, tomato puree, a couple of spoonfuls of instant mashed potato flakes and the last of the light coconut milk. Luckily there was enough left as I couldn't be bothered to cook when I got home today, so I had the leftovers.

That's all for now, I'm off to watch click flicks and try to stop myself eating pretzels and speculoos spread out of the jar (I already ate the chocolate spread last night!!)

Monday 4 May 2009

Bank holiday comes with a six pack of beer ....

...... then it's back to work.... A-G.... A-I-N!! ooh that's made we want to dig out ma Blur albums!!

You know what I love about May? TWO bank holidays! So bank holiday number 1 was this weekend and it was nice to have an extra day off - even though I had to work for some of it.

This was yesterday's lunch. I had some cooked quinoa in the freezer leftover from the last time I cooked it and made too much. I just chipped some off and poured boiling water over it and it was ready to go. I mixed it with julienned carrots, cucumber, spring onions, salad leaves, sweetcorn and the tahini yoghurt dressing from this post. Topped off with crunchy pumpkin seeds and brocco-shoots (Sainsburys has started selling different types of sprouts - I'm loving them!). It was pretty good for a salad.

Dinner on friday night I wanted some trash! I made something approximating the country fried tofu from hot damn & hell yeah (I couldn't be bothered to get out the book so was wingin it a bit!!) and had some mashed taters and mushy peas with it. I love this tofu recipe - it's so good although not all that healthy. I try to use as little oil as possible though and to make it extra good I double dipped the tofu in the soymilk/seasoned cornflour.

I made some muffins yesterday. They were just my basic muffin recipe with a banana and some peanut butter thrown in.

Last Sunday I really enjoyed my soup & sarnie for dinner, so I think I might make it a regular thing. This week my sandwich was a portabella mushroom that I got from the farmers' market shop in town (so excited to have found that place!!!), reggae reggae ketchup and salad.

The soup was creamy cauliflower soup. It was reallllllllly good. The recipe is at the end of the post. I surfed for a few recipes and found this one by gordon ramsay. As you can see it's pretty veg-unfriendly (a bit like the man himself). I took out the animal yuk and replaced it with light soymilk and soya yoghurt. I kind of liked the idea of the wild mushrooms on top (which is what gave me the idea for the sarnie).

Today's dinner was some wholewheat spaghetti and I had some leftover sauce from the balls (hee hee!) from my last post that I froze, so I just put that in and added some fresh basil and toasty pine nuts. I made some garlic knots to go with (recipe also at end of post) which where really really yummy. I made them with 50/50 wholemeal & white bread flours, as I've only made them with all white before. Next time I might try them with all wholemeal as I've pretty much cut out using white flour where I can.

HURRAH - it's UK strawberry season! I bought some strawberries as they were on special and they were amazing. Sweet and delicious. I ate a bowl of them plain yesterday and today I was going to do something fancy pants with the other half of the punnet. but then I realised I had a massive ripe mango and a ripe cantaloupe to use up so I just made a simple fruit salad and it was freakin rad!

This was dinner one night last week. Polenta with tomatoes, spring onions and sweet corn added then left to set for 5 minutes or so with steamed mange tout with nooch on and some roasty butternut squash. Yum.

And lastly, I have a new obsession - raw snack bars. I found the Trek & nakd bars in my local health food store and then found the 4 pack of mini nakd bars in Sainsburys along with... Larabars! YAY! I didn't think you could buy them over here and I must say they're pretty good.

The nakd ones are nice, although the chocolate ones are not the best. My favourite so far are the peanut & oat Trek bars. They rule.

And here are the recipes I promised.....

Creamy Cauliflower Soup
1 small onion (I used 4 fat spring onions)
1 tsp olive oil
1 fat clove garlic
1 x 300g bag of cauliflower florets
1 medium potato (about 150g)
2 cups (500ml) veggie stock
1/2 cup (125ml) unsweetened non dairy milk
1/2 cup (125ml) soya yoghurt
Salt & pepper to taste

Sweat the onion in the olive oil for about 5 minutes, until starting to get transluscent. Add the garlic and cook for only about a minute.

Add the cauliflower (chop it up a bit) and the potato, mix around and then add the stock. Bring to the boil, then turn down and cover.

Leave to simmer for 20 minutes (or until potatoes are tender). Pour into a blender and blend well (be careful, it's hot), then add the milk and yoghurt and blend again until smooth and frothy.
Then season to taste and serve with a few snipped chives if you like.

Garlic Knots (makes 6)
3/4 cup (120g) strong wholemeal bread flour
3/4 cup (120g) strong white bread flour
1 sachet (7g) fast action yeast
1 scant tsp garlic granules
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup (250ml) warm water
To finish
1/4 cup (4 tbsp) vegan margarine
1/2 tsp garlic salt

Mix together all the dry ingredients. Mix together oil and water and add about half into the dry and mix unti a dough forms, adding more liquid if needed.

Knead in the bowl lightly and then leave aside.

Preheat the oven to 210°C/410°F. While it's coming up to temp, split the dough into 6 pieces and roll them into a sausage. Then tie into a knot shape and place on a baking sheet. Spray the knots with olive oil and bake for 15 minutes, or until they are just starting to brown and sound just hollow when you tap the bottom.

Take them out and put onto a wire rack. Melt the margarine and mix in the garlic salt. Then brush it over the knots. I froze half the dough, as otherwise I would have eaten 6 garlic knots for dinner!!

Hope you all had a great bank holiday!!