Tuesday, 27 January 2009

So what has 'S' been cooking lately?

It seems like forever since I've blogged and I haven't really been taking many pictures lately! Sorry for that - combo of living off freezer food, trying to eat a bit healthy, finding it difficult to get inspired to cook and having a bit of a shit time at work of late. But hey enough of that.

Tonight I had my girls (E & M) round for a last meal in the flat and a Gossip Girl mini-sesh as my DVD arrived today - we are now addicted! Only I didn't take any pics! I wish I had though, cuz it was way more photogenic than anything else in this post! I made guacamole to go with tortilla chips, Dreena's cumin lime tofu and mexican stylee spicy rice with black beans, corn & peppers. Also, after seeing Jen's post about Sarah Kramer's chocolate pudding cake, I knew I had to try it and goddam it - it was freaking ACE! I forsee another one being made soon and next time I WILL take a pic!

So anyway, back to the stuff I did take pics of. Firstly, chocolate/ginger muffins. I still don't have this recipe right, but next time - it will be mine!!


This was some soup I made by throwing a craptonne of veggies festering in my fridge into the crockpot, with some stock, beans and brown rice. I also threw in a whole chilli and just pierced a hole in it - that's a trick my dad told me, to get a bit of spicy nip but not blow ya head off spice. It worked too.


This was dinner for me & my girls last week - it's Shelly's awesome smashing grains casserole. This stuff is seriously good. I had used up all my bulgar wheat so I used barley and I didn't have any peas so I subbed edamame. YUM and easy to make - making this again for sure.


I have been eating a lot of meals that look like this lately - I cooked up some bulgar and threw in some veggies, tofu and some soy sauce and served it with some roasted portabellas. Boring but good.

A similar sort of meal but with roasted brussels and squtternut bosh on the side!


This is probably my last post before I move out of this little shoe box I've called home for the last year and I feel a bit sad about it. But I'm sure it won't be long before I'm slinging pans and covering myself in flour in my parents' kitchen to bring you some cookie pictures!

And now I'm off to find out who has been sending Serena porn & bags of coke and hopefully see Blair shred that necky little Jenny!!

xo xo - Sal! (hehe)

Monday, 19 January 2009

I refuse to play your Chinese food mind games!

I was gonna order Chinese take out on Friday night because I had a SHIT week and couldn't be bothered to cook. But Mum & Dad took me out for a Thai meal instead and it was glorious. Of course I forgot my camera and didn't take pics though! So Sunday night, instead of ordering Chinese, I made my own.

Which started with a tin of Granose mock duck (baked at 180 till crispy!), with plum sauce and wrapped in iceberg leaves instead of pancakes.



And then? Here's a pic of it ready to roll....


And then? I made my version of Singapore noodles. I still don't have this right yet, one day I'll get it right and post the recipe!

And then? I did a broccoli, cashew & tofu stir fry with LOTS of chilli. It was superrad.



And then? No and then.
And then? NO AND THEN!
Annnnd thennnnn? NO! NO AND THEN!!


OK, so back to normal stuff. This was dinner on Thursday - sausage casserole. I used Linda McCartney Sausages (Becks, thanks for the Heads up that they're vegan and pretty bloody nice too!)

When I was going through the freezer the other night, I found a few bags of miscellaneous cake frostings. One was lemon so I had no choice other than to make the Gingerbread cupcakes from VCTOtW. I gave half to my Mum & Dad and my friend and I scarfed the rest between us over the weekend.


Speaking of my friend, she came down for some cocktails and a Supernatural catch up. I wasn't feeling very well Saturday so was a bit uninspired to cook but inspiration came in the form of Eat Drink & Be Vegan and I made the Cumin Lime Tofu. That stuff is SO good. I made a quick salad with some quinoa and a bean salad with some butterbeans I'd thrown in the crockpot the night before. It was pretty nice over all.


But later we got hungry so I made us a pizza! I just made a yeast free base because it's quicker and I didn't have any tomato sauce so I used reggae reggae ketchup! Which by the way was FREAKING AMAZING - I'll be doing that againn! I also put on some mushrooms, yellow pepper, sweetcorn, marinated tofu pieces and some Sheeze - mozzarella stylie.


We also had cocktails - these were cointreau, orange juice & champagne and they were ace.


And last night I made cookies. I just fancied some hot soymilk and a cookie. So I used Dreena's recipe again, but this time I used white chocolate chunks and swapped out a couple of tablespoons of flour for cocoa. They are sooo good - I had to bring them into work today so I don't eat them all myself!


Silliness today courtesy of this scene from Dude Where's My Car. And then and then and then and then and then!

baaaa
x

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Freezer Burn

Last time I didn't post any baked goods so today I thought I'd start off with one this time. I mentioned before that I'm moving soon so I'm trying to use up stuff in my freezer and not be wasteful and when digging through my freezer I found a punnet of blueberries and some okara that I froze. So I made some okara brownies and added the blueberries & a tsp of orange extract to them as well. I had to cook them for 45 minutes as well, because of the extra liquid the blueberries provide. That still wasn't really long enough though, they are very squidgy - but I kinda like 'em like that!


This was last night's dinner and I REALLY enjoyed it. Jessy's post about her butterbean burgers made me want beanburgers but I didn't have any butterbeans cooked. I did have cannellini beans though, so I used those instead and because I forgot to print off her recipe, ended up chucking in stuff till it tasted right. So I don't have an exact recipe but in there with the beans went a matzoh, some ketchup, fresh thyme, paprika, an onion and a yellow pepper. Also I didn't have any burger buns, so it went on a folded up deli-wrap (something else I found in my freezer hehe).

Here he is with reggae reggae ketchup (my new favourite thing) and pickles....

And the whole shebang - with roasted potatoes & aubergines and sugar snap peas tossed in a little vegan margarine, sesame seeds & nooch.

This was Monday's dinner. It was a quick curry I knocked up to try and use up some veggies that were in the fridge but I added a bit too much water and it is more like soup. But hey, I like soup so it's all good. This had the other half of some tofu I had over the weekend (found in the overly frosty depths of my freezer, of course!), aubergine, peas, rocket leaves, orange pepper and mushrooms.


I cooked some chickpeas at the end of last week to make soup for mum & dad and I used some of what was left to make hummus. I added LOADS of lemon juice as I like it pretty tangy.


I had a few leftover chickpeas so I just sprayed them with cooking spray and shook in some cumin, paprika, salt, pepper & cayenne and baked them for 20 minutes along with dinner. They were a great snack.

This was dinner one night over the weekend. Just some tofu (the first half of the defrosted tofu that went in the curry) baked with some barbecue sauce spread on it and roasty new potatoes - which were awesome.
And this is a cake I'm working on - spiced apple with toffee sauce. I broke cake making commandment one - I overmixed and it was a wee bit tough. Plus I think there was too much liquid and it wasn't quite cooked enough - but as it was already a bit tough, this is probably a good thing. So the recipe is not ready to share yet but I think it's got potential.

I googled for a while to find the type of caramel sauce I wanted for this and when I tried it, I just ended up with a watery oily mess. So I decided just to wing it and it worked perfectly. It tastes more like dark toffee than caramel, so that's what I'll be a callin it when I get the cake bit right. Watch this space.


Oh and whoever stumbled upon my blog when they were trying to find out “how do u tell a alien how to make breakfast” - I hope you found some instructions!!

That's all folks.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Bookworm

This week I've been trying to make stuff from my cookbooks. Monday I made the Punk Rock Chickpea Gravy from VwaV (that's in my last post though).

I own a lot of cookbooks but most of the time I don't bother with them and just end up winging it instead. But for some reason this week I've been feeling a bit uninspired so I've dragged out the cookbooks. I made a pot of Sarah Kramer's Bodacious Bean & Barley Soup last night to take over to my parents' house tonight, as they've not been well. But you don't need yet another pic of that!!

I ordered the PDF download of Joni Marie Newman's cookbook Cozy Inside. This is totally my kind of cookbook - all comfort food and the recipes all look amazing. Last night I made the meetloaf and I wasn't disappointed, it was delicious. I served it with white bean mash and lots of roasty veggies. Definitely looking forward to trying out some more recipes from this book.

Here it is out of the oven and cooled. I am not a TVP lover I must admit, because whenever I've used it before it's been a bit crap, but this recipe is awesome. I just made a half batch, because it's just me. Good thing I did though cuz I wouldn't have had enough TVP or ketchup for a full batch.


With veggies (roasted peppers, butternut squash, brussels & tomatoes).


Tuesday I made the famous VegNews Mac N Cheese. It was as good as everyone says it is, although I think I would probably leave off the breadcrumbs and not bother baking it! The cheezy sauce is awesome. I didn't have any carrots though and subbed orange pepper, hahah but hey it worked!


Cooking to: James Morrison - Songs For You Truths For Me (hella crap name but awesome album)

This pic is just cuz I found it on my camera, it was lunch on Tuesday. It's the quick pea soup I posted a while back, but this time I stirred in a big handful of rocket leaves before blending it.


Can you believe it - this post contains NO DESSERTS!! I just haven't been in the mood to bake or eat them this week. Ohmigod, I might have to skate home tonight - hell just froze over!!

Monday, 5 January 2009

I said BRRRRRR it's cold in here...

.....There must be some Toros in the atmosphere. OH EE OH EE OH ICE ICE ICE.

Ahem, sorry. So how hard did it suck having to go back to work this morning?? Ergh. The flat was freezing and so was the office – all day because it had snowed last night. So I was glad to have some leftover soup from yesterday’s dinner for lunch to warm me up at lunchtime.

See look - poor old Jeff was all frosty today!


In other news – I’m moving out of my flat in 3 weeks’ time. I’m looking for a new place because I’ve just had it with my wanker landlord, plus this place is too small – especially the kitchen! So I’ll be staying with my parents for a month or so while I find a new place. This means my blogging might be affected somewhat but hopefully not too much. I’m looking forward to having a new (hopefully bigger) kitchen to bake in! J So anyway, back to the food.....

This was yesterday's dinner and it was awesome. It was a result of feeling totally uninspired to cook anything and staring into the fridge for ages. Normally soup & bread just don't cut it for dinner time but this was really filling and warming. It had potato, roasted peppers & jerk seasoning but I'm struggling with coming up with a name for it. It's going in the zine though!


With soda bread... YUM!


Saturday's brekkie - Celine's awesome peanut butter & chips granola, that I threw some cashews into as well. Next time, I think I'll roast the nuts for a bit firs as they were a bit raw but it still rocked. I used regular chocolate chips and some of the white chocolate I got for thingymas.

Saturday, I decided to have another go at my chicken style seitan. First thing it went into was some stew & dumplings.


Today I breaded it and baked it and served it with soft polenta with sweetcorn added and VWAV Punk Rock Chickpea Gray - gah that stuff is rad! This meal doesn't look all that healthy but I think it was really as there's hardly any oil in the gravy and I ignored my instinct to fry the seitan and baked it.


In the past I haven’t had a lot of luck with the boiling method, that sounds so easy in Veganomicon! Last time, although it tasted good it still was a bit puffier than I’d liked (the dreaded “brains” appearance) and they stuck to the pan and I only really had one out of 4 that held it’s shape. Plus the stock wasn’t really usable in other recipes as it was full of little bits of seitan that had fallen off during the cooking. So I knew I needed to experiment with the cooking method and this is what I came up with and it worked superbly! Here is what they looked like this time.

Recipe is below as well. I used a half cup measure for each cutlet and it made 4, but they were HUGE ass cutlets so next time, I’m going to try use a 1/3C measure I think.

Dry Ingredients:
1 cup + 2 tbsp (145g) Vital Wheat Gluten
¼ cup (4 tbsp) Nutritional Yeast
2 tsp poultry seasoning (see pic)
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp thyme
1 tsp veggie or faux chicken bullion powder (or use cold stock instead of water)
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
Wet Ingredients:
1 cup + 2 tbsp (280ml) cold water
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp olive oil

Method:
Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl and the wet in a jug. Pour the wet into the dry and mix it well with a metal spoon or spatula until it comes together. It will look sloppy and like there’s not enough dry ingredients – don’t worry, it’s meant to look like that. Now get your hand in and knead it just for a minute or so.

Heat up a non-stick frying pan on a medium heat. It’s very important that the pan is non-stick as you’re not going to add any oil to it. Split the dough into 4 or 6 (depending how big you want them) and flatten them into cutlets. Do 2 at a time and flatten them out a bit more with your spatula on the pan. Cook them for a 1-1.5 minutes (keep the heat fairly low/medium) then flip them and cook for another 1-1.5 minutes. Remove from heat and put on a plate, then do the next 2.

This doesn’t cook them so they will be very soft and a wee bit tricky to turn and remove from the pan, but just be patient and you’ll get them out fine. I used 2 spatulas and that seemed to make it easier.

Cut out 4 (or 6) squares of parchment, about the size of the cutlets (don’t worry if they’re a bit small).

Fill a large pan with COLD stock. Take each cutlet and place it on a square of parchment, then gently lower it into in the pan and push it to the bottom. Repeat with all the cutlets and try and place them on alternate sides of the pan.

Turn on the flame and bring it to the boil. Once boiling, turn it down straight away to a low simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Every now and then, push the cutlets down with your spatula (they tend to rise to the top). After 30 minutes, turn off the heat and leave them to cool completely in the stock (or until you need them). Store them in the fridge in an airtight container, immersed in the cooking liquid (which you can use as stock in other recipes).

To use them, I just gently press out as much of the water as I can, between 2 pieces of kitchen towel – especially important if you’re breading them.

This is the chicken seasoning blend I use and instead of faux chicken stock (which I can't find) I use these incredibly disgusting soups. They taste mingin alone but used for stock they are good. I use one sachet in the dry ingredients and 2 mixed with water for the cooking liquid.


Another use for my seitan was fajitas. I put loads of guacamole, soya yoghurt and roasted onions & peppers on with the seitan. MMM MMM MM! They were good.


Extreme close up - MOLEY MOLEY MOLEY!


OK I've made myself want to watch Bring it On so that's what I'm gonna go do!

Thursday, 1 January 2009

The first one of 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! I can't believe it's 2009 already. I trust everyone had a good NY's Eve? Mine was a bit lame but it was nice to be with my friends.

Midnight also marked my one year veganniversary! A whole year of being vegan and I've loved every second of it! I decided I needed to bake something extra awesome to celebrate - more on that in a bit though, I have a couple of food pics....

Yesterday's brekkie, pancakes with lots of cinnamon added to the batter and maple syrup.

Today's dinner. It is rare that I fancy salad but today I did. I made the country fried tofu from Hot Damn & Hell Yeah (that stuff is awesome) and a salad out of chinese leaf, mushrooms, cucumber, carrots and a simple vinaigrette.


And now the important stuff - the baking. I wanted to use some of the white chocolate I got for christmas and some peanut butter so I made blondies. I got the idea for swirling peanut butter into brownies from the Barefoot Contessa! But this is my veganified version. They are a bit more effort than regular blondies, but I don't apologise for that, cuz they are tasty as fook!

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Blondies


Dry Ingredients:
1½ cups/240g plain flour
¼ cup/4 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
Wet Ingredients:
1 cup/250ml unsweetened non-dairy milk
1 tsp vinegar
¾ cup (packed)/135g light brown muscovado sugar
2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flax seeds whisked with 6 tbsp cold water)
½ cup/125ml soya yoghurt
¼ cup/60ml sunflower or rapeseed (canola) oil
1½ tsp vanilla extract
Extras:
30g/about ¼ cup vegan white chocolate, chopped or chips
1/3 cup/6 heaped tbsp natural smooth peanut butter
1 heaped tsp cocoa powder

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.

Mix together the milk and vinegar and set aside. Whisk together flax seeds and water and set aside.

Seive together the dry ingredients and mix well. Whisk the rest of the wet ingredients into the milk mixture and then add the flax eggs and whisk thoroughly - don't combine the two just yet.

If need be, stir the oils back into the peanut butter and if it's not soft enough to drop off the spoon in blobs* then heat it very gently over a low flame, stirring until it softens a little.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well until just combined, don't overmix. Remove 1/2 a cup of the blondie batter and put into a small bowl. Mix the cocoa powder in and set aside.

Toss the chocolate chips in a tsp or so of flour and then fold them into the batter and pour into a lightly oiled 8x8 baking tin. Then drop blobs of the chocolate batter and peanut butter over the surface. Like this.....
Then take a skewer and swirl swirly swirl...


Bake until the blondies are raised and cracked on top and a skewer comes out still a bit soft. It took 25 minutes in my oven. Leave it to cool in the tin and then I used a spatula to cut the blondies into 12 and remove them from the tin to cool on a wire rack. Here they are straight out the oven....

*sorry for shit description!! hehe

Cooking to: Heroes Series 2 - I'm catching up so I can start watching S3 that I've been V+ing.