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Friday 29 January 2010

So much cuter, with something in your mouth.....

I have no real reason for that title, except that I couldn't think of a name for this post and I went to see Nickelback last week and they were awesome as ever! I even had a pretty great view for most of it and being a short-arse, that's rare!

Also I disovered a new band through them - Daughtry!! They were the support band and they were great, I've downloaded both their albums and listened to them to death since them. I know you're probably thinking - they've been around ages, Sal - catch up!! But I don't watch American Idol so I'd never heard of them!

OK so back to reality. I haven’t blogged for a bit because I didn’t think I had many pics to share but I actually had a fair few on there! Although lately, I haven't been taking pics every day because my dinners have been looking all very similar – like this.... roasted veg with some sort of grain on the side! Kind of boring but tasty!!

This was roasted veg with bulgar wheat that I cooked in veg stock and spices and threw some chickpeas and frozen peas into.

I wasn't going to post this one, it was kind of ugly but I had a mini disaster with it! when I was making the nooch sauce for the macaroni, I open the big side instead of the shaker on the onion powder, shook hard and ended up putting in abou 3 tbsp of onion powder! ARGH!! luckily it clumped up and I managed to get most of it out and not wreck my sauce! hahaha phew!

This was yummy though. I saw the barefoot contessa make this zucchini gratin on her show and it looked awesome but loaded with cheese. As me and my friends are dieting I decided to try and hack the calories down as well as veganise it and it worked out really well (recipe is at the end). I love Ina, but her recipes do usually start with 3 sticks of butter and bottle of cream!!

But anyway, I always plug my recipes into as I count calories and I plugged in the original recipe too out of interest! Depending on how many you split it between, hers weighed in at 433 cals per serving with 33.5g of fat (20.3g of saturated fat!!) GROSS! Mine was 124 per serving! Although we actually split it 3 ways not 4 so it was more like 164 but that’s still pretty good!!

Last weekend I went up to the midlands to see family. I haven’t seen my dad’s side in more than 3 years (bad Sal!!). My 3 aunties and uncles and my Granddad, plus me and my mum and dad all went out for dinner. We went to a pub/restaurant so I wasn’t sure what the food would be like for me and I couldn’t get hold of anyone by phone to ask. But I was really lucky – there were a couple of veggie options that could be easily veganised by taking off the cheese and the waiter also told me that they didn’t use butter on their veggies, it was a substitute approved by the vegan society!! Happy day!! I had a roasted aubergine filled with lots of other veggies, plus carrots and cabbage and green beans on the side. Oh and the best chips ever! I didn’t get a pic though!

But for putting me up, I made these as a gift for my Auntie & Uncle. They got the omni seal of approval as I got an email from my auntie saying they were the best cakes she, my uncle and my cousin had ever tasted and could she have the recipe!! This is a big compliment because my Auntie's an ace cook!

They were the basic chocolate cupcakes from vegan cupcakes take over the world. I tweaked it a bit to replace some of the soymilk with amaretto liqueur and upped the almond extract a bit. The icing recipe I struggled to give her because I always wing the icing! It was a bit of pure soya margarine, some tofutti cream cheese and icing sugar, then I just added almond extract, amaretto and a bit of soymilk to it.

Last week in the supermarket, I saw this cauldron curry. I'm not a lover of ready meals but sometimes when I get back from the gym I'm not always in the mood to cook and so I thought I'd give this a go and was pleasantly surprised. It wasn't at all bad!

Needed a bit of salt, but then I think that about most things! :-)

I found this on my camera, forget when it was from (probably Sunday) but it was a pretty yummy roast dinner of baked tofu, sage & onion stuffing, roasted potatoes and parsnips and green beans & peas. Oh and lots of bisto of course!

oh and here’s that recipe as promised.....

Courgette/Zucchini Gratin:
1 tbsp olive oil (divided)
1 medium onion
2 courgettes / zucchini (about 500g)
2 tbsp cornflour (15g)
250ml/1 cup light unsweetened soy milk
1 tsp tahini
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
¼ tsp fresh grated nutmeg
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp onion powder
Salt & pepper to taste
25g breadcrumbs (optional)

Slice the courgettes about 1 cm / ½ inch thick and throw in a large bowl. Pour on 1 tsp of olive oil and mix well until all are coated. Lay in a flat layer on a cookie sheet or baking tray and bake at 180°C/350°F for 15-20 minutes, until just soft but not too browned. Once you’ve taken them out the oven, turn the heat up to 200°C/400°F.

Meanwhile, dice the onions and sauté then over a medium heat in the remaining 2 tsp of olive oil, until softened and starting to brown, but not too coloured (about 5-10 minutes).

Then make the sauce. Mix together the cornflour and soymilk and put into a saucepan. Bring to a simmer on a med-high heat and stir until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in tahini, mustard, nutritional yeast and spices. Add salt & pepper till you’re happy with it.

To assemble, put the slices of courgette into a baking dish and put the onions on top, give them a jiggle around to mix together. Pour the sauce over and spread it out.

Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top and spritz with low fat cooking spray. Bake for 15-20 mins, until the sauce is bubbly and the breadcrumbs are golden brown.

Have a freakin awesome weekend everyone, whatever you're doing!!


Sunday 17 January 2010

London foodz & shopping

Remember Joey and Janice's Day. Of. Fun*? Well yesterday was UK Vegans' Day. Of. FOOD!!

(*I couldn't find a vid clip!!)

We had a meet up of a few UK PPKers as a fairwell to Pieta, who is going back to the Netherlands next week ( :-( boo!). We had a lovely day of eating though!

We started with a bit of shopping at David & Goliath in Covent Garden (pics further down) and then to the Neals Yard Salad Bar in Covent Garden for vegan soft serve ice cream. Which by the way was totally effing sock-rocking!! You could get chocolate or mango and I went with a mixture of the too, as did most of us. It was reallllyyy good, especially the chocolate.

It's a pretty cool place. We only went for the ice cream, but there were lots of vegan options on the menu if you wanted proper food too.

Then it was off to Pogo Cafe. After a long bus journey and a very wet walk into somewhere in Hackney that I'll never be able to find again, we arrived. It's an awesome place, really relaxed atmosphere, just a bunch of people hanging out and some eating, some working, some doing cross stich... etc! Plus it's all vegan food.

I knew we were eating again later so I just went for a sandwich, a sausage sandwich. It was really good, I wish I'd asked what brand they use!!

This place is definitely worth a visit if you're ever in Hackney and you have GPS on your mobile phone!! hahah.

After this, we bussed it over to Camden, with the intention of going to inSpiral but in the end we never got there. We went into one of the crazy bazaar type places in camden to find the Secret Society of Vegans stall, which I think is temporary until their new shop opens. I bought an awesome bag, pix below.

After this, was time for more food. We had sort of decided not to go but in the end all decided that we would. So we hopped on the tube to Kings Cross and a short walk away was Itadaki Zen, a totally vegan organic Japanese restaurant. Not only was this place really cool inside and had the cutest waitress you've ever seen, but the food was delicious too!

I had nigiri sushi to start with....

And then this noodle dish that I forget the name of. The noodles were made of sweet potatoes and the mushrooms were called jew ears!! hehehe. It was really really yummy.

A couple of bonus shots: Happy vegans @ Neals Yard Salad Bar. From the front left - around the table: Kip's Friend Nicole, Kip, Zeinab, Pieta's friend Tom, Pieta, Holley and Me.

The shopping! I bought this David & Goliath vest (I have the shopping bag with the same picture on that I bought year's ago at Clotheshow.

Another tee - this was £5 in the sale, also at David & Goliath! Bargain. I LOVE D&G's stuff! They do loads of pajamas, hoodies, baby clothes, bags, watches, fridge magnets....

My SSOV bag. I love it!

Back to food. This was dinner for me & my 2 best friends on Friday Night. Thai green curry with tofu, green beans, baby corn, green beans and peas. YUM. There's basmati rice hidden under there too!

We're all dieting (not that you'd know it from that ice cream shot at the top, but you gotta have a day off now and then right!?) so I have been trying to think of ways to cut the calories and fat way back in my baked goods. This attempt was pretty good but I'm still working on it before I share the recipe. These were mango & coconut muffins.

Oh and last week, I have mostly been eating mini meatloaves. The recipe is from Cozy Inside by Joni Marie Newman and it is awesome. I halve the recipe and bake it in muffin tins to make individual ones, instead of one whopper. The rather ugly side dish was lentils, rice and peas cooked in veggie stock and spices. Ugly? Yes. Delicious? Hell yes. Oh and roasted green beans - my new fave way to cook green beans cuz they go all crispy and delish!

This time, starring alongside some simple steamed green veg and wholewheat couscous made with veggie stock and spices.

And lastly, with roasted sprouts, green beans and tomato polenta that I also added some corn into.

Enjoy what's left of your weekend, peoples.


Sunday 10 January 2010

Semi waffle success, McVegans and cake!

What is it about weekends - they go way too quick!!! Hope everyone is having a good one though anyway.

I started Sunday with some waffles! I made some yesterday and they were not bad but I forgot to take a pic. These are today's - chocolate with walnuts in. I'm still working on the recipe, there never seems to be enough to fill the whole waffle iron and they come out look like a big round one! But I'll get it right. They were pretty yummy with a blob of soyatoo whipped cream and chocolate syrup (just maple syrup and cocoa powder mixed together).

Lunch - I made McVegans. I had made some seitan the other night with these in mind. I cut a circle out of a seitan patty and out of a block of tofu. I dipped the tofu in chickpea flour seasoned with a little salt, onion powder, paprika and black salt and then lightly fried in a teeny bit of oil. Then stack the sucker up on a wholewheat english muffin, with a tofutti slice and stick it under the grill until it melts. YUM.

Friday night I had the girlies over for dinner and cooked us up a mushroom risotto. I've never made a proper one with arborio rice and adding the stock slowly before, so I was glad it all worked out. In fact it was really yummy. I added a bit of tofutti cream cheese and some nooch in at the end. We had it with steamed green beans and sugar snaps.

For dessert - a choccy cake. I cut the sugar and oil right down in this and added some apple sauce to make it lower fat - it was really good. I also chucked in some dried sour cherries. Although I hiked the calories right back up by putting chocolate ganache on top. Ah well, it was yummy and friday night!! (I'm still working on this recipe!) I struggled to get a decent pic of this.

With a blob of soyatoo!

And to drink we had Nigella's apple martinis (vodka not gin!). I bought the apple syrup online and got some apple sourz liqueur last time I was shopping so that I could make these. I thought I'd have to up the syrup because I'm not one for really strong drinks but I didn't - they were perfect. They need ice though in my opinion! So good but pretty sweet though. I've just realised that I bought granny smith apples to serve a wedge of apple in them and forgot. DOH!

This was dinner on Thursday I think. Roasty sprouts and butternut squash and potatoes with a seitan cutlet. I also made the merciful miso gravy from La Dolce Vegan to go with it. That stuff rocks.

This was another meal from last week that was awesome! The squash was a bit crap - it's one of the most tasteless ones I've ever had. The tofu I just sprayed with braggs and sprinkled it with spices then baked it. The lentils were the star though. I stole the idea of the barefoot contessa and veganised / spiced it up a bit. Recipe at the end of the post.

Lunch last week - blended up chickpeas with some mayo and nori flakes and some sweetcorn added, with a salad of rocket, shredded carrots, cucumber and avocado. The dressing was just some lime juice, soy and wasabi powder. YUM.

And another lunch - miso soup: Veggie stock, soy sauce, lime juice, pak choi, red pepper, tofu, spring onion and miso. really quick but really yummy.

Edit: I forgot the lentils recipe - so here it is:

Spicy lentils
1 tsp olive oil
1 Small onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste - dep on how salty your stock is)
1/4 tsp black pepper
1- 1.5 cups (250 - 375 ml) veggie stock
1 medium carrot, diced
125g green puy lentils
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp cider vinegar

Heat the oil in a pan and saute the onion for a few minutes. Add the garlic and spices and cook for about a minute.

Add the lentils, carrot and about a cup of stock and stir well. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are cooked. Add more stock if the pan goes dry at any time. If at the end of the 20 mins there's stock un-absorbed, turn up the heat and cook it uncovered a few minutes till most of it's absorbed.

Stir in the tomato puree/paste and vinegar and then serve.

This makes 2-4 servings, depending on how big you want the portions to be.

That's all for now folks. Enjoy what's left of your weekend.


Saturday 2 January 2010


HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So how was everyone's new year's eve? How did you celebrate? My friend came over, we had a couple of cosmopolitans, some crisps and watched Police Academy, Goonies and Spaceballs (<3 80s movies!). I managed to stay awake till Pizza the Hut ate himself but was dozing off before midnight. Luckily my friend set her alarm so we could watch the countdown. We cheers'd, hugged, said happy new year then went to sleep. hahaha.

New Year's Day was my veganniversary - 2 glorious years! Last year I baked some blondies to celebrate but I wasn't really in the mood yesterday so I just had leftover chocolate log from xmas! hahah. Happy veganniversary to anyone else who celebrated yesterday too, I know there's a few of us!

Onto the food pics. I don't have any from chrimbo - I forgot to take my memory card with me and now I can't find the cable to get the pics off my camera, DOH! So instead, here are some from Wednesday. We went down to Brighton for the day and had dinner in Terre a Terre. My bro let me take some pics on his iPhone..... The food was amazing, even better than last time!

We started with a plate of the Lavash Tanoor (fried lavash bread with baba ganoush) that we shared between us but I didn't get a pic.

This was my bro's dinner - a rosti with spinach and cheese and an egg on it.

Lara's (my bro's girlfriend) - Saltimbocca, which was mushrooms and polenta I think.

My mum's - she had the Tandoori Tattie (the tofu one). It was really yummy, I'm having that next time!

And mine (my dad had the same) - The Sodden Socca - chickpea pancakes with a couple of different sauces, very yum.

OK back on to my food. For xmas, my awesome bro and his awesome girlfriend got me a waffle maker!! SQUEEEEEEEEE!!!! Here it is, in its shiny new glory!

Inside shot....

Well obviously I need practice folks! I used the first waffle recipe in Vegan brunch, I had to sub a couple of things that I didn't have. But I followed the salt and baking powder etc proportions correctly but I found the batter way too salty. The first batch, I obviously didn't put enough batter on - as you can see.

But the second batch, not only did I forget to re-oil the plates but I put too much in and resulted in this disaster. :-(

So I need to keep playing around with batters and amounts. Like I say they were a little salty but once I covered them in mango sauce (whizzed up frozen mango, soya cream and golden syrup) they were not bad at all!

Last night's dinner was seitan. I cleared out my little freezer drawer the other day to make room for ice and I found a seitan sausage, so I defrosted it. I had it with some roasted veg - peppers, onions and asparagus - cuz that's what I had in the fridge. And some soft polenta. YUM.

And dinner another night - noodles with mushrooms, bok choy and smoked tofu. Quick, simple and yummy.

That's it for now, hopefully I'll have more successful waffle pics next time!