Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Release the Gimp

Just for fun, because I just remembered I had the photo on my desktop at work…..

These are the result of a productive afternoon at work! We bought some gingerbread men and gimped them up for a workmate – as he is the office gimp! Probably not vegan but hey, I didn’t buy or eat them!

These are my efforts to give you an idea of my "artistic" flair!


Excuse the crap pic - was taken on my old camera phone!

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Muffin Madness

Here are the recipes for the muffins from my previous post.

Nectarine Muffins:

Ingredients:
3 Nectarines, chopped
1/2 cup soya yoghurt
1/4 cup soya milk
1/3 cup oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1.5 cups plain flour
1 tsp bakin soda
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Method
Chop the flesh of the nectarines (I don't bother to peel as they look pretty with the red skin showing). Whisk together yoghurt, milk, oil & vanilla. In a separate bowl mix together dry ingredients and then tip into the wet and mix until almost combined. Add the nectarines and mix till no lumps of flour remain. Don't over-mix!

Put into muffin cases and bake at 180c / 350f until a knife / toothpick comes out just clean. It took about 20 minutes in my oven.


Banana & Peanut Butter Muffins
The peanut butter is an addition I don't normally add but I just fancied it yesterday. I added 3 tablespoons but really I think it could do with a bit more! Let me know how it turns out if you add more and it comes out ok.

Ingredients:
3 ripe bananas (the browner and yuckier they look on the outside - the better!)
1/4 cup of sunflower or rapeseed/canola oil
3/4 cup soya milk
1 cup of golden castor sugar
3 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
2 cups of plain flour
1tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

Method:
Either mash the bananas with a fork, or if you're lazy like me use a stick blender! They don't have to be smooth just get rid of the major lumps. Then add the oil, milk, sugar and peanut butter and mix well. Stir together the flour, salt and baking soda and then add to the wet ingredients, stir until just combined.

Put into muffin cases and bake at 180c/350f for about 20 minutes (until tester comes out just clean).

Friday, 21 March 2008

Must. Stop. Baking!

Been baking way too much lately!!

I had some fruit in my fridge that was going soft! So the mango got turned into this.....

Mango & Coconut Cake:

Nectarines became muffins:
These skanky bananas.....
.... became un-skanky banana and peanut butter muffins:
And today I made this chocolate cake for Easter. I was heartbroken when i arrived at my parents house and it had split down the middle! but a bit of creative frosting and it looked almost as good as this picture! It tasted good too!
And I've been loving playing around with the spicy italian seitan sausage recipe from the Everday Dish website and I came up with a really savoury (non-spicy) variation, that I love so much, I've been putting in loads of stuff:

Today's brunch - scramble!

Sausage casserole with kale and romanesco

With pasta and spicy tomato/veggie sauce

In macaroni 'cheese'

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Happy Birthday Bro!

I wanted to make my lovely brother Andy some birthday cupcakes because he was so gutted that he missed out on the choc mint ones I made for my friend Maz the other week, but wasn't sure that they (or I) would survive a trip to london on the train and underground in a massive tupperware.

So I went for some cookies instead. These are chocolate chip & orange and they taste so good! There is some dough left that I have big plans for to turn into cookie dough ice cream. More on that later in the week (as long as it doesn't fail miserably).

Here they are, still melty and warm from the oven...

Oh and just cuz I took a pic, this was brunch today. Tofu scramble, rosemary & sea salt roast potatoes, a big mushroom and some iced green tea with lemon. YUM!

Thursday, 13 March 2008

wtf is that weird looking shit?

I was in waitrose yesterday (which I normally don't go in cuz it's too chuffin expensive!) and I saw these crazy looking suckas and had to have them.
They are called Romanesco - I didn't even know what they were but a google search confirmed they were part of the cauliflower family so I steamed them till they were just cooked, but still nice and firm, smothered them in vegan 'cheese' sauce and served with some baked tofu that was super yum. It was a really really good meal and I'm glad there were two in the packet, but now I have to think of something to do with the other one!!

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

B Never Too Busy to be Beautiful

I have to admit, I was never really a lush fan, but it was probably more bitterness at their creativity and inventiveness making my attempts at bodycare products look shitter than jeff goldblum in, well any movie he’s ever been in I guess.

But anyhoo, I discovered their offshoot – B Never ...... (fuck me that is a long old name they came up with!!) at Clothes Show last year. I’d sort of heard of them and knew they were related to Lush so were likely to be vegan friendly and had a lovely chat with an awesome pink haired vegan chick about their products. I ended up buying 3 eye shadows and an eyeshadow brush. Since then I’ve spent too much money ordering stuff from them online.

I really recommend checking them out if you haven’t before. They have a great range of colours, all the make up is vegan and they deliver to your door in a couple of days. AND everything comes in really cute jewelled, glittery pots, even the brushes are glittery and jewelled – they are so cute!

They do vegan mascara too, which I think is impossible to come by in the shops? I’ve ordered a couple of other vegan mascaras online too so do a comparison which I’ll post too.

In the meantime, get your arse to their website and order some cream eyeshadows – they stay put all day, don’t crease and there are loads of really cute colours.

Ok I’ve raved enough, I’m geting a headache. So here’s just a little piccie of my last little B Never haul.

Straight out the box

Unwrapped
Naked

Monday, 10 March 2008

mmmm pizza!

I have been dying to try out my pizza stone, which my mum gave me (she didn't want it?? what's wrong with her??) and I had loads of stuff crying out to be put on a big (if not slightly mishapen) sexy pizza.

This was about the best pizza I’ve ever had, it rocked! Even if you’re not vegan I highly recommend putting pesto on your base under the tomato sauce – pesto and pizza really is a match made in pizza heaven!

I cheated a bit because I didn’t have any yeast for the base and I remember when I was younger my mum making one that was more like a savoury scone dough. I googled yeast free dough and this is what I got and it was perfect, soft and doughy and yum.

I topped it with homemade pesto, homemade salsa (which is really mild so doubles as a good tomato sauce), sweetcorn, spicy vegan sausage (from this awesome recipe), green peppers, fresh tomatoes and some shredded cheezly mozzarella style cheese. Normally I don’t bother with the cheese but I just fancied some today and this is the only fake cheese I can stomach, albeit only in small amounts. Then just sprinkled it with oregano and served it with a big glass of vino and a couple of episodes of Dirty Sexy Money! Heaven.


oh and 1 tip - buy a freakin rolling pin! rolling out dough with a glass is hard work!!







"Makes 3 Dozen Cookies"


Unless your name is Sal and you scoop the dough out with an ice cream scoop!! So instead of 3 dozen Maple Walnut Cookies (recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance), I got 1 dozen big mamas!


One fell apart, so I had to eat it, it was the right thing to do!

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Posh Fast Food

Worked late again tonight and by the time I got home, really didn’t want to start being imaginative. So I went for some posh fast food.

The peas are a recipe I ripped off from Nigella and veganised - it rocks!

Posh chips & mushy peas
Served 1


Ingredients

Fries:
1 sweet potato
1 tsp or so of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
A good pinch of sea salt
Tbsp or so of olive oil


Posh mushy peas
1 small clove of garlic
1 cup of frozen peas
2 heaped tablespoons of soya yoghurt (or vegan may or whizzed silken tofu)
1 tbsp vegan margarine
Salt & pepper

Method
Chop the potato into wedges and toss in olive oil with salt and rosemary. Roast in oven for 25 minutes. Give them a good stir about half way through.

Put the garlic in a pan of cold water and bring it to the boil, turn it down low and leave it for 10 minutes while the sweet potato cooks. About 5 minutes before potatoes are ready, take out the garlic and the skin will slip off (yes I am that lazy!!) and then put back in the pan with the peas.

The peas will float to the top of the pan and the water will be just boiling and the peas will be cooked. Drain the peas and put them in a processor (garlic too) with the tofu and the margarine. Whizz until smooth but not completely pureed. Season and serve with the sweet potato wedges and tiger bread!! :)




Happiness, thy name is tiger bread!

Whoever said money couldn’t buy you happiness is full of crap and if you shop at Morrisons, you can buy it for 62p! I am talking about tiger bread – yummy white bread with a sesame glaze on the top that bubbles and cracks when it’s baked, producing a tiger striped effect. If you haven’t tried it before, I insist you go to your local supermarket and buy some now. Seriously, go now!

Looking at this picture makes me happier than it probably should!! If I wasn’t crap at poetry I’d start rhyming!!





So last night I didn’t have much time to throw together dinner so I did a quick tomato sauce (recipe below) on top of spaghetti, with 2 fat wodges of tiger bread. It was rad.

It’s really easy and even with prep time, it was done in 20 minutes. The chilli gives a bit of a kick, but leave it out if you don’t like. Or increase it if you’re ‘ard.

Quick Tomato Sauce
Serves 1



Ingredients:
Tbsp or so of sunflower oil
1 fat spring onion (or 2 skinny ones), roughly chopped
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp tomato puree
About a shot glass of white wine
About ½ a cup / 120ml or so of water
1 ring of green chilli (from a jar of jalapenos for nachos) - optional
Pinch of dried oregano
Pinch of paprika
Pinch of sugar
Salt & pepper to taste
Slack handful (about a tablespoon) of nutritional yeast
Tbsp of vegan cream cheese (I used tofutti plain)

Method:
Heat the oil in a saucepan and throw in the spring onions, tomatoes and mushrooms and stir until the tomatoes start to mush down. (The water for the pasta was boiling at this point, so in it went to cook for 10 minutes).

Add in all except the last 2 of the other ingredients and stir. Leave the heat up high until it starts to reduce. Keep stirring regularly and add more water if it reduces too much. When there is about 3 minutes left on the pasta, turn the heat down on the sauce to low.

About a minute before the pasta’s done, turn off the heat and stir in the cheese and nutritional yeast until well combined. Check the seasoning, drain the pasta and serve in a bowl with tiger bread, a big glass of vino and cookery programmes!

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Alien on Toast!

That is what you would think you had asked for, when you see the look on some people's face when you ask for the vegan option!

I’m still pretty new to veganism (been veggie for a while but went vegan January 01 this year) and aside from how good I feel, the best thing is trying new dishes and foods I never would have tried before – plus it gives me an excuse to buy more cookbooks!! So this blog will be about what I’ve been cooking, some recipes of my own and food porn.

One of my other loves is make-up and I'm finding that it’s tough trying to find vegan make-up that doesn’t totally blow! So when I find it, I’ll post about it. I sometimes dabble in making my own soaps, lotions, make-up ...etc so I’ll post about that too!

So I’m gonna start off slow ... here are some cupcakes I made from the acest book I own –
Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. The basic chocolate cupcakes are amazing and were the first ones from the book I tried, with the peanut butter frosting – they rocked my world (and the worlds of a couple of people at work too). But I didn’t take a pic of them. Poo.

Here’s a couple I did take pics of:

Chocolate Mint (I left off the chocolate ganache because they already looked so pretty). The icing was green but it doesn’t show up too well in the pic. They were birthday cupcakes for my friend Maz so I busted out the piping bag to make them look all pretty and added some glittery candles.






Carrot Cake Cupcakes, with vegan cream cheese frosting. The icing is really quite runny on these but it tastes flippin awesome. I’m telling you, if you’re trying to sell your house, forget making coffee or burning some naff candle or some crap – bake a batch of these instead; they made my flat smell amazing.



Since I’m on a pudding roll, here is some Chocolate Pudding, the orange variation (recipe from Vegan With a Vengeance). This is seriously tasty and I reckon a few tweaks and it could make a wicked ice cream - i'll get back to you on that!




And lastly some Mango & Orange Sorbet (recipe below).


Recipe for Mango & Orange Sorbet:
This is awesome and easy as pee to whip up. I ripped it off from a book that I got for chrimbo but I adapted it the recipe a bit to make it better (and take out the egg white!)

Your mangoes need to be really ripe and soft so that they make a right mess when you chop them up! This way they are really sweet and taste gorgeous.

Ingredients:
2 large ripe mangoes
Juice and zest of 2 oranges
115g castor sugar (about ½ cup), I used golden castor sugar
½ pint water (about 1¼ cups)
1 tbsp Cointreau or other orange liqueur (optional)

Method
Make a syrup by mixing together the water and sugar in a small pan and put on a low heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves and then remove from the heat and allow to cool.

While it’s cooling, chop the flesh of the mangoes into rough chunks and whizz in a food processor until smooth. Add the zest and juice of the oranges to the mangoes and pulse to combine.

Then add the Cointreau if using and about half of the syrup and taste. Add more syrup if it’s not sweet enough, until the mixture tastes sweet enough. The sweeter your mangoes are the less syrup you’ll need.

Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to instructions. I find this is too soft to eat when it’s done so I freeze it for an hour or so before serving. Whatever’s left will keep perfectly but will freeze rock hard so you’ll need to leave it out at room temp for a bit before serving.

I put it in pretty bowls with some thin strips of orange and lime zest like a flash git, just for the photo though!