Saturday, 6 December 2008

New Stew and Dumplings!

I made up another batch of the super cheap stew when the other lot was finished. And to make it extra special I made dumplings!

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
big knob of sunflower butter
cold water as required
seasonings/herbs etc

- mix flour and baking powder and salt and seasoning in a bowl
- mix in the butter with a fork until it's crumbly
- gradually add in water (do this REALLY SLOWLY - a tablespoon at a time at most) until you have a non-sticky dough. If it goes sticky, add more flour until it's normal again
- knead lightly and roll into firm balls
- put into the stew
- let them bubble away for 10 minutes or so

They were really really tasty. The first lot I made were a bit too salty, but still edible. The second lot were great!

Dinner and photographs

First off, catch-up photos. Here is the stew, in my big green soufrier. I was given it by my granmother as a going to university present, and I was sceptical about the chance of it getting used. For the first year I didn't touch it, except when the bathwater heater broke and I needed to heat up water on the stove. It got a little bit more use in the second year. Now I use it all the time (or whenever I want to make mass amounts of food). These photos are particularly crap quality, but they're still nice to look at.
I took photographs of yesterday's dinner because I was confused and delighted by it. It was a quick leftover meal because I was studying, and I felt like I needed to eat some more veg. So I had bolognese sauce, peas and potatoes with sunflower butter, and a pitta bread stuffed with grated parsnip and carrot with a hoummus, lemon and soy sauce dressing. It was a strange but delicious meal.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Bolognese-ish Sauce

Here's what I had for lunch:
1 can tomatoes
1 cup soya mince (t.v.p.)
1 clove garlic
1 can baked beans
1 onion
pinch basil
tsp soy sauce
olive oil for frying
1/3 cup red wine

- fry chopped onion, garlic and basil till lightly browned.
- Rehydrate soya mince. This will depend on the brand, but as a rough guide, cover with boiling water and leave to expand for 3 or 4 minutes. Add soy sauce and mix through.
- add to the pan and fry off for a little while.
- add tomatoes and brans, bring to just before the boil and simmer for half an hour.
- add wine, simmer for a further 5 minutes.
- eat with pasta, and fake cheeze if you wish. You might have to add a little salt, better to do this after you finish cooking.

It was yummy and quick!

In other news, the chick peas are growing well. I've been changing the water and spying on them pretty regularly, and I'm getting very excited!

Peanut Biccies and Baked Tofu

With great joy I can report two and a half successes today!
The first is Peanut Butter Oaties from Easy Vegan Cooking by Leah Leneman.
I love biscuits but I find them annoying to make and rarely have the patience. These are cooked in a tray and then sliced up afterwards, so the recipe is super simple.

55g margarine
55g Peanut butter
pinch of salt
1/3 cup sugar - I used dark brown sugar
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup oats
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tbs water

- beat margerine and peanut butter in a big bowl
- add salt and cream in sugar. At this point I added cinnamon because it goes with anything and everything
- add flour and oats and bicarb and water. Mix it really well with a fork.
- turn it out onto a greased baking pan and press it down firmly.
- Cook for 15-20 minutes at 190 degrees.
- slice, cool and serve.

These were very tasty. I left them on a plate in the kitchen, and between my housemates they went in about four hours. Definitely a repeater!

My Second success was Baked Tofu from the Students Go Vegan Cookbook by Carole Raymond. I like this book alot because the recipes are simple, and they use cheap and easy-to-find ingredients.
1 pack firm tofu. I had a pack lying around and wanted to use it up - this was the inspiration for making this!
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 tbs sesame oil (I used the oil from a very oily jar of tahini!)
2 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs water
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tbs minced ginger (I didn't have any ginger in, so I used paprika instead)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (again, not used.)

Method: this sounds complicated but actually isn't.
- Press the tofu between two plates with a heavy weight on top. I completely messed this up! I don't quite know how, but I scared the tofu into disintegrating a bit. The result was a sort of scrambled mess, so I had to do things a little differently.
- Press for 20 minutes and drain liquid
- Cut tofu into 1cm slices
- mix the marinade ingredients (everything else) in a large glass baking dish.
- put the tofu slices in a single layer. Cover and refrigerate for three hours, turning the tofu after 1 hour.
- Put the tofu on a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake at 175 degrees centigrade for 30-45 minutes. Turn after 30 minutes. The longer it's cooked the chewier it gets.

I probably cooked mine for an hour, so the tofu pieces came out very small. They were really delicious though, and I ate a big portion in a pitta bread, with grated carrot, grated parsnip and hummus. It was really delicious!

I get very stuck for sandwich ideas, so I'm definitely going to do this again.

And for my final half success: the sprouted chick peas are growing! I feel like a proud parent.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Stew, Crumble and Photographs

Here are some photos from my milk making experiment. I made up another batch yesterday and it went really well.

I put it in an old squash bottle.
I have two successes to report today. My first is making stew.
Recipe (this isn't strict - you can use any vegetables)
I used: 1/3 butternut squash
10 salad potatoes
3 carrots
3 parsnips
1/2 a dark green cabbage
3 fresh tomatoes
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 can chick peas (garbanzo beans for people in the US)
1 can gungo peas
2 vegetable stock cubes
medium curry powder
200g red lentils
olive oil
Method: again, this is not strict.
- Fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil, in a large pan. Add basil.
- Make up the stock with a pint of boiling water. Add to the pan.
- Chop and add the squash, carrot, potato, parsnip and carrot.
- Pour in the tomatoes and canned beans. Bring to the boil, then simmer.
- Add the lentils. They don't seem to get too 'scummy' on the top, but if lentil froth appears just skim it off with a spoon.
- Add salt to taste. Add more water if it gets dry, and let it bubble away for an hour or so.
Success munber two: Super easy apple and blueberry crumble
2 apples, cooking or eating will do
big knob of sunflower spread
2 spoons of sugar/agave nectar/maple syrup
1/3 cup blueberry juice
cinnamon to taste
a cup of oats

- preheat oven to 200C
- chop up the apple
- put the apple, juice, a spoon of sugar, and a pinch of cinnamon in a microwaveable bowl
- zap for 4 minutes, until the apple is soft
- mash the apple with a fork
- put the puree into the bottom of a loaf tin
- while the bowl is still hot, put the sunflower spread into it and stir it until melted
- cream in the remaining sugar and cinnamon
- add and mix the oats
- put the oats into the tin, on top of the puree. Lightly press it down
- bake for 15 minutes

Failures: the gluten was awful. I might have done something wrong with it, I'm not sure. It was fairly similar to tofu, but floury and went soggy very quickly. Not a repeater.

Today's experiment: sprouted chick peas
They've been doing their thing for a day now. I'm hoping to make raw sprouted hoummus with them. I'm trying to include more raw in my diet, but find raw vegetables pretty bland.

Sunday, 30 November 2008


The purpose of this journal is to record my successes, failures and experiments in vegan living. Hopefully quite a collection of recipes and ideas will amass here!

Recent Success: Oat milk.

1 cup of oats
3 cups of water
sugar/syrup to taste

Method: Mix oats and water in a large jug. Stir for five minutes or so.
Leave in the fridge, stirring regularly, for 12 hours.
Stir, then strain.
Add sugar to taste.

Kept refrigerated, it should last for 5 days.

This went well! I ended up with a smooth and creamy milk, similar in taste to Rice Dream. So far I have not noticed curdling in coffee or tea, and have used it in bread sauce with success. I'll keep you updated on how it goes, but I will be pleased if this works out, as it is much cheaper than soya milk, with a nicer flavour.

Recent Failure: Garlic Mayonnaise

Attempted Recipe
1/3 cup sunflower oil
1 clove garlic
1 cup soy milk
salt and pepper
1tbsp vinegar

Method: combine oil and milk in a blender, adding the oil slowly. Add garlic, salt and pepper.
Add vinegar and turn off machine immediately.

This did not thicken at all! Although the flavour was good, the consistency was off-putting, and the jar I made was fast-tracked to the bin.

Recent Experiment: Gluten
I'm not a big fan of tofu, so I'm trying my hand at making textured gluten as a tofu-substitute.

1 cup strong plain flour
1/3 cup water

Method: mix water and flour to make a firm dough.
Knead for half an hour.
Put in a bowl and cover with water. Leave for an hour or two.
Knead the dough under the water and keep changing the water until it remains clear.

Once made, it can be turned into sausages, or used in curries and stir frys, etc. Fingers crossed!