Sunday, 21 September 2014

Vegan Mofo: Coconut Crisp

A few days ago I discovered that it was pretty easy to veganise old school cakes from non vegan cookbooks and it was successful. I was interested in giving some outdated vegan recipes a try though, so I thought a tray bake would be a good way to go. Along came Eva Batt's Vegan Cookery book.

This book is full of overly simple vegan recipes. I have actually already cooked Pease Pudding Fritters from here as my Mofo prep, but they didn't make the cut. I did want the book to be included though so I flicked through the desserts section. A lot of them were pretty boring and uninspiring to be honest, I didn't want to do flapjacks, apple crumble or bread pudding because those recipes haven't really changed at all. I decided to go for the Coconut Crisp, similar to a flapjack but different and easy enough for me to get together before Cake Liberation Front.

Coconut Crisp

  • 115g vegan margarine
  • 55g crushed wheatflakes
  • 30g brown sugar
  • 115g plain flour
  • 85g dessicated coconut
  1. Grease your baking pan and heat the oven to 170C
  2. Heat up the margarine and when melted stir in the rest of the ingredients
  3. Knead the ingredients together until well combined, pop onto the tray and press down firmly, making sure all the mixture has gotten to the corners.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes and remove from the oven. Mark into biscuit shapes before returning to bake for a further 10 minutes.

Despite a few people saying they enjoyed them at Cake Liberation Front, I wasn't hugely impressed with these to be honest. It felt like I should have doubled the mixture for my pan so they would be thicker, they were very thin. I also would have liked them sweeter, so perhaps sub the small amount of sugar for a larger amount of maple syrup? Sounds like I should have made flapjacks! They had a nice coconut flavour but to make it better I could probably use coconut oil instead of marg too.

My impression is that this book is a bit overly simple. Simple stuff can taste really good but I do feel like this book misses the mark a bit. 

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Vegan Mofo: Caturday Round 3 and Macaroni Cheese Stuffed Chick'n

It may be Mofo #20 here today but it's also Caturday round 3! Today I am presenting you with the cookbook that started this dedicated day of the week; The Cat Lovers Cookbook

This book is just so awesome. It's hard to find the words to describe how much I love it. I know for sure that this will not be ending up at a charity shop at the end of Mofo 14, it's gonna stay on my bookshelf for life. This is a collection of what the author describes as good food for people who enjoy the company of cats. Sounds right up my street.

The book includes not only recipes but pictures and stories of cats that have been in the authors life. It's really sweet. I spend a lot of time with our Aidah and I also spend a lot of time eating and there's a recipe in this book that blew my cat n food lovin' mind.

Macaroni Cheese Stuffed Chick'n
  • 1 recipe vegan cheese sauce (I used the New Farm recipe because it's the best one)
  • 1 cup cooked macaroni
  • 2 packets sosmix (or if you can find it a chick'n roast mix)
  • crumbled up chick'n stock cube (omit if you find the alternative chick'n mix)
  • 1/2 cup grated vegan cheese
  1. Heat the oven to 200C
  2. Mix the cheese sauce with the cooked macaroni, saving some to top the chick'n with.
  3. Make up the sosmix, adding the crumbled chick'n stock. When it's ready separate the mixture into four equal pieces. Flatten each bit of mixture, pop a tbsp or two of the macaroni in there and then fold over and shape into chick'n breasts.
  4. Place on a baking try and cover with cheese sauce and some grated cheese.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes.
Serves 4

Easy right? But how did it taste? Bloody lovely of course! It was so incredibly filthy. Proper dirty food. It was great! I was so full after eating it that I could not move from the sofa for a good few hours, a great opportunity for some time with Aidah.

As I was sat with Aidah that evening I thought about how far she has come along since she's been with us. I started thinking about the first time I took her for a walk. As she can't go outside alone, I felt bad that she was missing out on spending time outdoors so I got her a harness and lead. I remember getting her used to the it indoors and the first time I took her down the stairs to our front door. She was so scared, I was holding her and she just froze and clung to me. I opened the door and sat with her on the front step and once she was used to her surroundings she let go and sat by me. After a while I started walking around our front garden, she was nervous but she began exploring. She sniffed at the flowers, rubbed her face against the bushes and pawed at the wood chippings. She was in love with the outdoors all over again.

With each walk Aidah gained more confidence and would enjoy her time so much that she'd immediately ask to go back outside after every walk. Aidah is so vocal it's impossible to say no. As confident as she now is, Aidah doesn't like to wander off alone. She's just content to be outside with some company. And she loves the sun, she's a real sun cat

Do any of you take your cats out for walks? Have a great Caturday everyone!

Friday, 19 September 2014

Vegan Mofo: Curried Shrimp and Pineapple Risotto

Ebay has been a great source of weird, outdated cookbooks. There have been so many that I've wanted to buy, it's been really hard to be restrained about it all. I've not been too restrained, I have loads of books stacked up right next to me now, but if I'd given in to every urge I could probably have enough material to make this theme last a year. There's no way I can physically keep this up for a year, so I've had to be reasonably sensible. But then when a book like this comes along, all logical thoughts go out of the window

I've never heard of Shelford's Pineapple but when I saw this book, I knew it was time to party on down in our kitchen! And we all know what makes a great pineapple party...Curried Shrimp and Pineapple Risotto....obviously. Have you never been to a pineapple party before?!

Curried Shrimp and Pineapple Risotto
For "entertaining with a difference"

For the curried shrimp

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 packet of vegan fish fillets
  • 3 tsp plain flour
  • 3 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp dessicated coconut
  • salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chick'n or veggie stocks
  • 1 apple, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped pineapple
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 tsp sugar
  • 1 packet of vegan shrimp
For the risotto

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pepper, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups aborio rice
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup chopped pineapple
  1. First of all you want to get the curried fish going. So heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion and garlic until golden.
  2. Add the chopped fish fillets and fry for a few minutes. Add the curry powder, flour, and coconut and fry for a few minutes
  3. Add the stock, apple, pineapple, tomatoes and sugar and bring to the boil. Simmer for 25 minutes.
  4. For the risotto heat the oil in a new pan and fry the onion and pepper until softened.
  5. Add the aborio rice and cook for a few minutes. Add all the stock and constantly stir the rice until it's absorbed all the water. This takes about 20 minutes. 
  6. While you're waiting either bake your faux shrimp (mine were weird tofu and carrot wrapped in bean curd skin) or fry them. Set to one side
  7. Once the water has been absorbed, stir in the pineapple and warm through.
  8. Plate up the risotto on a dish, top with the curried fish and then finish off with a few faux shrimp on top.
Serves 4

It was a bit weird having what felt like two different meals mixed together, with added pineapple in both. But, I've got to say the curried fish was awesome and the risotto was pretty good too. I do think it would be better just having it with some basmati rice but hey, I guess if you're "entertaining with a difference" then why not make risotto to go with? 

I would add the water little by little next time, you know, how you're supposed to make real risotto. The panic when I followed the recipe and just chucked the stock in and then remembered I was making risotto! This book is freakin' crazy. CRAZY PINEAPPLE PARTY!

Speaking of crazy, check out this amazing ice cream sundae from Fuck Yeah Vegan Ice Cream. I want this in my face!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Vegan Mofo: Johannisber Kuchen

I realised that I haven't posted a huge amount of sweet treats during Mofo and I also had an invite to Cake Liberation Front in Manchester, so I decided to bake up a storm. One of the reasons I've not really been doing much sweet stuff is because whilst a lot of the recipes are basic, they're still very similar to what I'd make today and didn't seem too out of he ordinary. There were a few that stuck out though and the recipe I'm sharing today is from the Sainsbury's Summer Desserts cookbook I came across.

Sainsbury's supermarket published a whole series of cookbooks in the 80s and I was lucky enough to come across this one in the book exchange at my work, so I picked it up for free! This book is so fruity, which I should have expected really as it's Summer themed but I panicked a little. I like chocolate cake and ridiculous amounts of sugar! I guess that's one of the differences between baking now and baking back in the 70s/80s, cakes of course are still laden with fat but they're not as decadent when it comes to sugar and decorations as a lot of cakes are today. I thought perhaps change would be good. I avoided the very many fruit and cream/fruit sorbet desserts and headed over to the cake section. I could still have my cake, even if there was no chocolate in it.

Johannisber Kuchen
A delicious redcurrant cake which a German friend of mine serves. You can also use apples, plums or pears.

I decided to go for a selection of red and yellow plums

  • 125g vegan butter
  • 125g caster sugar
  • zest and juice of a lemon
  • 1/2 cup soya yoghurt
  • 175g self raising flour
  • 1 tbsp boiling water
  • 6-8 plums, sliced thinly
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  1. Grease a 20cm (8 inch) cake tin and heat the oven to 180C.
  2. Cream the butter, sugar and lemon rind until light and fluffy
  3. Beat in the soya yoghurt.
  4. Fold in the flour, lemon juice and finally the boiling water.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and scatter the plums on top. Sprinkle with icing sugar and bake for 50-60 minutes. Leave in the tin a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
Serves 8

So the edges burnt a little because I will never get the hang of my gas oven but wow! For a cake so simple this was amazing. The sponge was incredibly light but still moist and I loved the background flavour of the lemon here. The plums caramelised and it was great to get that nice sweet bite every now and then. Whilst the crust of it did look a bit charred it didn't taste burnt so that was a winner with me.

This was one of 3 things I took to Cake Liberation Front and a lot of people said they enjoyed it, so I was very pleased. I was wary that I had to make minimal changes to the recipe (I just subbed soya yoghurt for eggs and replaced butter for the non dairy version) but it worked great.

This cake won me over, despite containing no chocolate at all! Hurrah!

It was great to see Caroline who runs Cake Liberation Front and who blogs over at Tea & Sympatico, so go take a peek, she's got a great tea theme going on and has just reviewed an amazing veggie Chinese restaurant in Manchester. I also met Boltonian Vegan for the first time, who has plans to write about the event, so keep your eyes peeled!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Vegan Mofo: Baked Lettuce

Last night I cooked from a really old book. Older than any of the books I've been using so far during Mofo. You can tell this book is old for a few reasons, 1) it's so old the recipes aren't written in a recipe format, just paragraphs of suggestions 2) the recipes are so freaking weird.

Vegetable Dishes and Salads by Ambrose Heath. Published in a time where we used Roman numerals mcmxxxviii (1938)

I'm so happy my friend Jenny from Spice Box of Earth (a great blog, check it out!) let me borrow this beauty. Part of me wants to cook everything from it, but I've had to settle for just a few choices. I was planning to bring back marrow for a brief appearance today but unfortunately my marrow is rock hard and I couldn't cut into it. I'm secretly pleased that I'm having to leave it on the side until it's a bit softer. I'm hoping Mofo will pass by the time it does so I can get away with not eating it.

I needed a dish to present to you though, so I decided to carry on and cook the side dish from this book that was going to accompany my marrow. Baked Lettuce.

Jesus Christ, why did I pick this theme?

Baked Lettuce

  • Lettuce
  • 1 tbsp soya butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 cup soya milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and peel the outer leaves from your lettuce away and discard.
  2. Melt the soya butter in a pan and saute the garlic for a few minutes. Add the cornflour and whisk until it is a paste
  3. Add the soya milk, lemon juice, nutritional yeast and salt/pepper. Continue to whisk until the sauce thickens.
  4. Once the water is boiling pop in the lettuce for around 30 seconds. Remove and place in an oven proof dish.
  5. Cover the lettuce in the sauce, scatter breadcrumbs over the top and bake for 15-20 minutes
Serves 4 as a side dish

I never thought I'd blanch a lettuce but then I never thought I'd bake one either. This was just so fricking weird to make. I was gagging every step of the way. The weirdest part? It didn't taste awful.

Plus, it kind of looks ok doesn't it? I didn't serve mine with anything, I had it as a starter to my leftover Gulyas, which is kind of a weird thing to do but bloody hell, I was baking lettuce, couldn't get much weirder could it?

I don't think I would make this again because believe it or not, I have a bit of credibility when it comes to cooking but this is definitely not the worst thing I have made this Mofo. I think when it comes to lettuce though, I'd rather just have it on top of a veggie burger, uncooked.

To help you leave a nice taste in your mouth, check out this Chocolate Orange Chia Pudding from Vegga. I never thought I'd be tempted by chia but this is definitely helping!

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Vegan Mofo: "Beef" Gulyas

I've never been that into cream, as a child I hated it. Recently my opinion changed when I came across a great brand of vegan squirty cream. I don't know how it happened, but somehow I ended up in bed, in the dark, blasting that frothy, sweet nectar directly into my mouth and repulsing my partner at the same time. I have no regrets. Since that life changing and slightly disgusting event, I feel that I can truly appreciate the book I am presenting today...

Clever with Cream. I love the piping effect on the title but the best part of this book are the chapters; Casual with Cream and Cream has Company are two of my favourites. Less keen on the horribly sexist Chauvinistic Cream and Cream with Compliments but we'll skip over those. I decided to settle on something savoury in the Complete it with Cream section Beef Gulyas

"Beef" Gulyas

  • 1 x  recipe for homemade seitan
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 50g soya butter
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 can tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 peppers, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 carton oatly cream
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Melt half the butter in a large pan and fry the onions until softened but not brown.
  3. Add the rest of the butter and seitan, fry until browned. Add the paprika and bay leave and cook for a further 3 minutes. Pour into a casserole dish.
  4. Pop the peppers and garlic in the pan and fry for a few minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes and bring to the boil. Pour into the casserole dish and stir. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Pop into the oven and bake for an hour or so.
  6. Mix the oatly and vinegar and pour into the casserole once removed from the oven.
Serves 4

I had mine with linguine and uhhhmaagaaaddd. It was so good! The long cooking time in the oven ensured that the seitan absorbed all the flavour of the sauce. The cream added a nice richness to the dish. So good, nice and hearty. Good enough that I'd probably cook this for a dinner party. I'm definitely making this again, although in future I'll be cutting down on the amount of butter used in this and just swap it for minimal olive oil. 

Speaking of fancy meals, check out this Lemony Risotto with Shiitake Shrimp from Vegan 4 One. It looks so tasty!

Monday, 15 September 2014

Vegan Mofo: Frankfurter and Pineapple Salad

Apologies for the late post today, I had a Mofo fail  and had to quickly whip up something else from my plan. Luckily the Daily Mail Book Of Party Time Cookery had something to offer.

I know, looks horrible doesn't it? I had a feeling cooking from this book would only lead to badness. The Daily Mail does not know how to party or have a good time and when I was flicking through, I was genuinely surprised I didn't come across any casual racism amongst the recipes. I decided to make the Frankfurter and Pineapple Salad because it sounded gross and I was lucky enough to have all the ingredients lying around the kitchen.

Frankfurter and Pineapple Salad

  • 220g rice
  • 1 pack Taifun tofu weiners
  • 1 small pineapple
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1 pack of tempeh/faux bacon
  • french dressing
  1. Bring some water to the boil and cook the rice. Once cooked drain and run under cold water until cool.
  2. Heat some oil in the pan, chop the tempeh into bitesize pieces and fry until crisp.
  3. Slice the tofu weiners, chop the pineapple and slice the tomatoes.
  4. Put the tempeh, tofu weiners, pineapple and tomatoes into a large bowl
  5. Stir through the rice and splash on a generous amount of french dressing and give it a good mix
Serves 6

This salad just reminds me of some of the weird meals I came up with when I was at uni and didn't have much money or motivation. It wasn't exactly disgusting but it definitely wasn't exciting either. I did like the fried tempeh, that was nice. I don't have tempeh often so it was good to include that for the 'bacon' flavour the recipe called for. I'm really not a fan of fruit in savoury stuff though so I did not like the pineapple in this at all.

Unfortunately I made the full amount, so it looks like I'll be eating this boring, weird, fruity salad for the next 5 days. Boo!

Anyone wanna come over for lunch?!

Whilst crying over my horrible salad, I came across this great recipe for Cauliflower 'Fish' n Chips by Soy Division. It looks ace and definitely something I'll be trying when I can eat normal food again!