Happy Birthday Holly!

October 5, 2009

It’s one of my best buddy’s birthday today, so I’d like to wish them a great one 😀

To celebrate this awesome event, I bring you vegan mofo post #4. I like to bake stuff for my friends on special occassions, especially birthdays. I’ve made sugar cookies in the past, which were okay, but not too special. Holly did request the ‘cheese’ cake balls I made for the sake of it once, but I didn’t have the ingredients on hand nor could I go and get them in time. Everyone likes ginger, right? So what better than mini ginger bread balls? Except…they turned into ginger biscuits. They tasted great though, much better than store bought gingernut biscuits, and everyone liked them, so no problem there! Just a tad dissapointing. I made my own recipe based on looking at lots of other recipes online and taking parts which sounded good and mixing them with what I wanted. That’s probably where my problem lies.

ginger biksI forgot to take a picture of them before taking them in, but 3 were left over (I’ve already eaten 4 today!), so I managed to salvage a photo for you. I used golden syrup to moisten the mixture with before cooking, which gave these a different kind of sweetness (They also had brown sugar in). There’s also some cinnamon, and to give it a good ginger kick, I used 2 1/2 heaping teaspoons of ground ginger, which is a lot more than many recipes I read called for.

Apparently I was a bit more tipsy than I remember being on saturday. I thought I remembered everything I did, but I’ve been told (at the great merriment of my friends) that I was up to all kinda things. Thankfully nothing too embarrassing though, however I think I have a couple of apologies to make to a couple of people. Jeez, I’ve learnt my lesson! That begs the question, have you ever done something you regret under the unfluence of alcohol?

What’s better than Carrot cake?

October 4, 2009

Carrot cake oatmeal! Whenever I have work, I always ensure to make a hearty, special bowl of oats for breakfast. Just plain chocolate flavoured oatmeal is great, but they’re my school breakfast! I was struggling for idea, when I though of this – and it was so tasty! So this is my Vegan Mofo entry #3:

carrot cake oatsI’ve never put nuts in oatmeal before (le gasp!), but I loved how they add to the flavour and texture, I might just try it again in the near future. If you like carrot cake, and you like oats, try it! It’s quite simple, all you need is:

  • 1 small-medium carrot
  • 40g oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 cup of soy milk (or other milk)
  • 4 pecan halves, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 pinches chopped walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • 1/3 teaspoon cinnamon or mixed (pumpkin) spice
  • agave, to serve

In a pan, add the oats cinnamon and soymilk, then grate in the carrot (I did it so that the round end was on the grater, to get smaller grates). Bring to the boil on the hob, then turn to a low simmer. At this point, add the brown sugar. Stir in and keep stirring untill the sesired consostancy. When cooked, add in the vannilla and half the chopped nuts. Transfer to a bowl, then drizzle on agave and add the rest of the nuts on top.

Yum!

I’m glad I didn’t start work untill 10 this morning though, as I had a rough night last night! I drunk a little bit too much, but not so much that I was puking or anything like that. I had a good time though, so that’s all that matters! The party had a theme of hats, so i decided to wear my ‘neko’ hat.

SN851294You can see it better in this photo, but at this point I was wearing it in top of another hat:

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Mofo without Peanut butter?

October 2, 2009

mofo

The last couple of days have been really great; I now have a pretty full scedual! Tomorrow I’m going to a party/gathering, it should be fun, I’ll try not to get too tipsy 😛 Next thursday evening I’m going to the cinema, and friday too if I’m not working. I feel popular! Lol.

So how’s Vegan Mofo 2009 going for everyone? It’s only day two, but I still feel really inspired by it!

So what would Vegan Mofo for me be if I didn’t include peanut butter? That bring me to todays post:

Today I really craved spaghetti; I’d worked so hard in PE today, circuit training and exercise biking – It made me realise how unfit I am! I’ve only ever had spaghetti in your typical tomato sauce, so although I could have stayed with what I know and love, I decided to be brave and take a chance on Peanut Butter Pasta. Don’t let this combination put you off! I used the recipe from  The Garden of Vegan: How it All Vegan Again. Though I had to tweak it slightly, it calls for broccoli, but I only had cauliflower, so had to make-do.

peanut butter spaghettiIt was really tasty! If you like creamy pasta dishes such as carbonara, then you’d love this. I’ve only had carbonara once, but from what I can remember, this is a good substitite. The home roasted peanuts added a great texture and a nice crunch, and the cauliflower complimented it well.


Vegan Mofu has officially begun!

October 1, 2009

mofo Turn over your calanders guys! October has arrives and has brought with it Vegan Mofo 2009. This is my first time participating and it’s gonna be really great to see everyone’s mofo yummyness! I’ve decided on a few themes to follow, although I may not follow them to the T. These include :

Making other blogger’s / recipe book’s recipes

Baking

Reviewing Vegan Products

Basing a meal on a certain colour

International cuisine

Quick and easy food

Comfort food

Veganising non vegan food

Budget meals

Today, to kick off Vegan Mofo, I’ve made a decadent dessert. Now, I’ve made a yummy tofu mousse before, however recently I’ve fallen in love with avocados. They’ve sooooo tasty! In salads, eaten raw, with dip. I love their creamy-ness. Anyway, I found the idea of using them in a dessert mousse recipe and I thought, ‘Why not?’. So, for my first mofo post, I bring you:

mousseChocolate-Avocado-Mousse. Would you believe it really had avocado in? No green bits? I even made a ‘cream’ to top it with. The mousse is simply 1/2 an avocado, 1 dessert spoon cocoa powder (more ot less to taste), some soya milk and 1/6 of a block of tofu blended with a good dollop of agave and a teaspoon vanilla. To make the cream I blended the other just under 2/3s of a block of tofu, a bit of soya milk and a big fat teaspoon of banana-peanut-butter (Though I think it would work just as well with 1/2 a banana or a spoon of nut butter). I didn’t know how the ‘cream’ would turn out, I have to be creative, it was getting on and I had no time to check the internet for recipes to make a tofu cream – However, Vegan Mofo is all about creativity! The improvisation worked though, it complimented the mousse well, have a good flavour but not a too powerfull flavour. To finish it off I grated a piece of a carob bar on top. Yum! The avocado gave it a really nice creamy texture and taste, I suppose because of the fat content.

mouse2Actually quite a healthy dessert. A good source of the healthy fats, protein, it’s low GI and contains a serving of fruit!

Also, if like me you’re a fan of tea (Ain’t just for the brits!), Dancing Through Life has a giveaway just for you!

It’s nearly time!

September 30, 2009

I’ve had a pretty suckish day, and as a result I’ve felt pretty crap. Just 8 months, that’s all I can keep telling myself…8 months.

CheerUpCharlie

Vegan Mofo starts tomorrow! Anyone else joining in this year? I’m quite excited for it, I have a whole bunch of recipes marked out to try – hoping they’ll all be successful! Anyone got any ideas for ‘themes’ this year? I’ve been looking at the PPK for inspiration, but am always up for new ideas!

The last couple of days I’ve been eating some mushroom stew with herb dumplings from the book Vegan Cookbook: Over 90 Mouthwatering Recipes for All Occasions that I made in food tech on monday. The stew was yummy – I love me some mushrooms! However my dumplings were not dumplings at all! More like extremely dense under cooked flour balls. My fault on two counts though. 1) I changed the recipe, replacing oil with apple sauce. 2) I undercooked them! I cooked them for the time stated by the book, but it turns out that wasn’t enough. I have no idea when you tell when a dumpling is cooked too. It’s a shame because dumplings used to be one of my favourite foods (before I went on a health kick). Either way, I haven’t ruled out making this dish again, I just need to tweak the dumpling recipe some more or find a different one.

stew n dumplings

Could it be…two great things combined?

September 28, 2009

You all know how much I love peanut butter – it’s the best! I also love bananas, I’m surprised they don’t find their way into my stomach all too often (save for bana brulee oatmeal!). However, what about…Banana-Peanut butter?! This is something inspired by Chocolate Covered Katie, so far all her recipes have been yum and this is no exception!

Don’t exclaim, ‘eugh!’ just yet though. If you like bananas, and peanut butter, this is something to get your teeth into!  If you’ve ever enjoyed a scrummy peanut butter and banana sandwich, this really is for you! Imagine having a spread which saves you the messyness of slicing up a banana, and if there’s any left, wondering what to do with the rest of it.

peanut butter banana spreadThis was hard work to make though. Although in theory it’s very simple – just throw everything into the blender – in practice it just ain’t so. For starters, my magic bullet simply couldn’t handle it, the mixtire was too thick. I had to keep adding soy milk every so often to get the blades to spin it. It’s hella hard to clean up afterwards too, even if you are a fan of licking out the blender!

I added some cinnamon to the spread too, though next time I will add some vanilla me thinks. One thing I hate about bananas though is their ‘I’m so cool I’m going to oxidise’ attitude. Even though I keep the spread in an airtight container in the fridge, The banana causes a darkening of the ‘exposed’ parts of the spread (Mainly the top, and air gaps at the bottom). It tastes fine though, I simply stir it up before I eat some. It tastes great as it is, I eat it right of the spoon, but I bet it’d be great on toast, or on pancakes, or anything else you like. It seems to thicken up in the fridge, so next time I’ll make it with more soya milk. In he end I used about 100g peanut butter, 1 banana and 70-100ml soya milk and cinnamon. Try it!

A day of food

September 27, 2009

I’ve been a busy little bumble bee today. Delivering papers and spending the rest of my time in the kitchen, cooking up not one, but 3 times! I’m fed up of washing up, that’s for sure. I haven’t has a ‘proper’ meal for a while now, so decided to break that today. In the full spirit of autumn, I made a hearty cauliflower topped stew. I guess it’s akin to a cottage or sheperd’s pie, but it didn’t feel like a cottage pie to me. Instead of mashed potatoes, I used mashed cauliflower, and had split peas and various other veg in the middle. I added some nutritional yeast to the cauliflower topping, and it made it extra yummy. My only adaptation I would make for next time is grilling it after it’s been in the oven for 20 minutes or so, to get a lovely crispy topping.

SN851244SN851255Actually, I was very surprised that none of the liquid from the filling seeped over the top, as usually happens when I make similar dishes. i guess I did something better this time! After a short interval when I’d finished eating, I rushed downstairs remembering what I had been meaning to make. I’ll leave this thing for my next post though, as I don’t want to bore you with so much food in one post!

After a quick stint in the pub and a short walk by the river with my mum, I decided it was soup time. I’d prepared for this by going to to the co-op earlier and grapping the veg they were selling off. So I made a swede, cauliflower, celery, leek and onion soup, with some spinach blended in because well… Why not? I still have to say the best veggie soups have butternut squash in, but the only one they had today looked more like an orange courgette – it was rather pathetic.

SN851259That’s a lotta soup! I got 7 portions from todays batch. And, would you believe that this entire bowl is only 500 calories. Wow, I don’t think I’d even get through half of it before bursting. So to all you dieters out there – there you go, home made soup for the win!

Autumn is here

September 25, 2009

Autumn is really making itself known; crisp, fresh mornings, early darkness, the crunch of dead leaves and of course, conkers. I do love autumn for all these reasons, I find it so beautiful, and especially on days like today where it is still warm enough to not feel a chill at all. I wish I was a young child again so I could crash through massive piles of leaves and have conker fights – those were the good days! I might actually try and get my family to go for a walk in the nearby woods soon while it’s not too cold. Though it also means winter is round the corner, and I really suffer in winter, which does remind me, I need to buy a coat!

I’ve struggled with tofu marinades since forever, they’ve never produced the taste I wanted. I put this down to making the marinades myself, so to counter this I bought a bottle of teriyaki marinade. It made the tofu so yummy! It would have gone great for tofu and veg skewers, or in a stirfry, but today I was boring and had just baked slices of tofu with roast veggies.

SN851223It would have been perfect if I had had time to cook the tofu for longer. I’m glad I’ve finially been successful in marinades though.

I’m also really excited to say I won RandomlyMikey’s giveaway! Thanks for hosting the giveaway, Mikey!

One last thing from me today, this song has really captured my heart and amused me, I’m weird enough to admit I have watched it more than once.

Wazza, Mofo?

September 23, 2009

Is it only in my school where there was a phase where everyone would end their sentance with mofo?

Anyway, I am talking about a different mofo today; VeganMoFo (vegan Month of Food), which is a world wide month of blogging that creates awareness of the yummyness of vegan food. More information can be found here. I’m very excited for it! I’m going to use it as an excuse to (attempt to) bake delicious treats, and to blow the dust of the couple of vegan recipe books I have floating around. I have some ideas for themes, too. The idea is to post every weekday or 20 times in the month of october, however I reckon some of the weekday posts will be moved to weekend posts. My birthday is in october as well, so hopefully I’ll manage to whip up some birthday treats for MoFo.

vmofo

I’ve had a particually bad day today. Just one of those days where I’ve felt blah and crap, all I wanted to do all day is get home and get under the duvet. I hate feeling like this. I got a letter from my doctor the other day, telling me I have a 5-6 week wait for the counselling for my depression, which is quick overall, but still oh so long when you’re desperate.

I’ve had one rather successful endeavour this week; Bean Balls! They smelt sosososo good and tasted nice too, especially with the tomato-peanut sauce I had them with. They were basically mashed up kidney beans with onion, garlic and nutritional yeast binded with egg replacer. I’ve never tried using egg replacer for actual binding, but was impressed with the results; there was a notable difference from when I tried to make bean burgers without a binder. They still need a little work to get the ultimate cooking time and flavour though, maybe something for MoFo?

bean ballsAnd there is still a bit of time to enter Randomly Mikey’s giveaway! Check out her blog anyway 🙂

Kale? No thanks!

September 21, 2009

I’ve come to the conclusion that I dislike kale. I will eat it, but it isn’t the most palatable of vegetables for me. I’ve tried it in salads, in stews, raw, and finally as crisps. Not keen on it at all. It was quite nice in the stew, though… It’s a shame because kale is one of those ‘super foods’, but I’ll stick with spinach, thanks.

Today to use up the last of the kale I decided to make some kale crisps/chips, since everyone else seems to be doing it.

SN851222I tried marinating them in a mix of red wine vingar, garlic powder and paprika and sprinkled them with salt before baking. They still tasted somewhat nasty. Actually, I burnt the second batch, they were smoking when I opened the oven door. Those ones tasted even worse. I give up with kale.

I found out I’m going to Alton Towers theme park on october 19th – I can’t wait! ‘Saw’ (The thriller/horror movie) ride here I come! We’re talking about a vertical drop here, it’ll be great!

My dinner was particually yum today, I made something like a stew with some soya/TVP chunks. I found out how to make them not-so-chewy, since last time I used these they were on the chewy side (but I liked that). The secret? Simmer them for longer! Once they’ve been rehydrated with boiling water, simmer them in whatever for at least 25 minutes.

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