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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.