Wednesday, 9 December 2009
Monday, 26 October 2009
The big pull for this book is the 'more than 750 full colour photographs' the book claims to have. Too many vegan cook books don't have photos, and I for one really enjoy looking at pictures of food. There are a few repeats, there are a few photos that dispite using fancy crockery, lighting, and camera FX still show food that looks stomach-turning. But the majority of the photos (of the food - there are some really dodgy ones of 'real life vegans'. Including a woman wearing head to to beige. And a beige bumbag.) are good and amazing and delicious.
There's a fair bit of nutrition information at the beginning, which would probably be useful if you are taking your first faltering steps into a vegan lifestyle, but for the rest of us...well. We've heard it all before. There's only so much vitamin B12 info I can reread and stay sane. There is also a page on why people go vegan, which is pretty weak in my opinion.
As for the recipes, there is a definite 'health food' feel to this book. Health food as an idea is not something I am particularly bothered about either way, but if you hate health food, this is probably not the book for you. If you are a health nut, this probably isn't the book for you either!
The recipes are, on the whole, interesting - Scooped Pear and Red Wine Sorbet, a Parsnip Cake, a few curries and a few stir frys, a few breakfast ideas. Somed of the nutritional information is listed below each recipe, which is kind of cool.
The book itself is massive - way over A4 size. It's big, and substantial, and very heavy.
I've got my first recipe in the oven at the moment, so I will give that a full review when it's done.
Saturday, 17 October 2009
This one, however, illustrates it nicely. Everything on my plate, pretty much, is bright orange!
I've got a jacket sweet potato, baked beans, grated raw carrot, and grated carrot and chopped bell pepper in a chilli spice seasoning. This was one hell of a meal.
I don't usually go in for alot of crazy modern ideas about food, like I will never do the Atkins Diet (how would you do that, anyway, as a vegan? Chug olive oil?), I do not believe that my blood type bears any relationship to my nutritional needs, and I do not believe that carbohydrates, salt, sugar, fat, or processed foods will kill you immediately the second you look at them. (not saying I am a fan of high fat, high sugar, processed-salt-carbs, but you know, everyhting in moderation). One such philosophy that I do see some merit in is the whole 'eat a rainbow' idea. Even though the name is so cheesey!
From what I have read, the thing that makes orange foods orange is alpha- and beta-carotene. When we eat orange foods, our body converts the alpha- and beta-carotene into vitamin A. One of the big jobs of vitamin A is to keep the liningd and coatings of our tissues strong. Think of it as a sort of polish, that makes it impossible for germs to get a good foothold! Orange foods tend to be full of vitamin C, selenium and zinc. Even better, orange foods tend to be very tasty.
Well, my lunch wa very tasty, and because I cooked the baked potato in the microwave, it was all done in under ten minutes. Bonus!
Thursday, 15 October 2009
I was very excited when I found my first vegan pancake recipe. Now, I am not the kind of person to name names, so I will not be disclosing the name of the recipe book concerned here, but the pancakes were truly awful. I thought it was my fault, so I tried to make them again and again, without success. It was just a bad recipe.
Months went by. I still had not found an edible vegan pancake. Very sad.
Then my flatmate bought me VWAV for christmas. I have tried other recipes since that have been much better than that first pancake tragedy, but none compare to the VWAV pancakes. They are MONUMENTALLY AMAZING. No exaggeration.
Now, I make pancakes regularly, and I always use this recipe. Today was no exception.
I didn't want loads of pancakes, just a reasonable luncheon amount, so I made the batter in a teacup rather than a jug. Here is the mixture. I had no granulated sugar, so I used icing sugar instead, and just so you aren't in complete suspense, it worked perfectly. VWAV recipes are on the whole very very robust, which I appreciate because I hate measuring stuff.
Here is pancake numero uno right after I poured it into the pan. I love watching the bubbles come to the top of the pancake, it's mystical. Oh, I learned the hard way: never, ever, ever use those lo-cal sprays to fry pancakes on. Sure disaster. These I fried with lashings of Vitalite.
The sauce thickened up wonderfully and it began to smell really really great.
I crushed up some dry tortillas and added that, with a little more water, to the pan, and put the lid on.
Then I went for a bath. Big mistake.
When I came back to the kitchen, everything was a haze of smoke. It smelled like a bonfire, and didn't look much better. Somehow, my chilli had actually set itself on fire. No joke. I panicked and threw a jug of cold water over it (first I turned off the heat, so don't be alarmed) and in about a second the water had gone from cold to steam. I have no idea how the pan got so hot.
The result: no chilli. The house was visibly smoky for four hours after that. And I smell like an arsonist. I was NOT HAPPY!
Wednesday, 14 October 2009
Tuesday, 13 October 2009
Friday, 9 October 2009
Here they are, cooling on the window sill. They look tasty, pretty, most importantly normal. I had no idea that in minutes, they would be reduced to horribly deformed, freakshow cookie mush. Can you guess what went wrong? Yep, they stuck to the tin. In skillfully taken pic #2, you can see the ratio of destroyed to non-destroyed cookies, separated with the spoon.
In case the blur makes counting hard, I did a batch of 20 cookies, and was able to get 6 out of the tin without making them disintegrate. Oops.
The crumbly messy mush was delicious though.
It was dark by the time we ate, so this pic is extra crappy. He fried onion, peppers, savoy cabbage and garlic until it was really soft and brown. Then added a can of chick peas and fried for a minute or two more. Then added (about half a cup of?) orange juice. Oh, before that he coatewd everything in cumin, paprika and salt. Then left it to bubble a little while I microwaved the tortillas.
We ate them covered in hummous and ate them very very quickly. They were delicious, and tasted really health-ful. Mm.
I'm lucky to have people around who think being vegan is cool. Or at least not weird and gross.
Saturday, 3 October 2009
This is a picture of my fruit bowl. It's not much of a bowl, but the fruit is the important bit. One williams pear, three roche pears and two pink lady apples. Yum.
Monday, 21 September 2009
Wednesday, 16 September 2009
Q: Did I try anyway?
Q: Despite how terrible it looked, did it taste amazing?
Q: What have we learned from this?
A: Flours - don't mess.
Saturday, 12 September 2009
Set in the near future, the book follows a group of 'God's Gardeners' through the mysterious 'waterless flood', and tells of their journey and history. The book is gritty, funny, tender, shocking, compulsively readable. Atwood's characters are as complex as her themes and subject matter are expansive. Covering ecological and humanitarian disaster, this book is extremely relevant and bang up to date.
It follows Atwood's earlier book 'Oryx and Crake' (which I loved!) and expands on alot of the ideas it contained.
I'm not much of a reviewer, I know, but check out the website for a feel of it http://www.yearoftheflood.com/ . The website is full of resources and information on a number of broadly 'green' topics, and very interesting.
Wednesday, 26 August 2009
Monday, 24 August 2009
Saturday, 15 August 2009
1. I am going to give up drinking pop for (at least) one week, starting today.
2. I am going to cook something fresh and delicious every day for (at least) one week, starting today.
3. I am going to do something creative every day for (at least) one week, starting today.
4. I am going to read more on the issues I am interested in.
5. I am going to post here twice a week for (at least) one month, starting today.
Maybe I've just gotten lazy of late. Hopefully this will give me a kick up the bum, and get me going.
In food related news, I had the BEST salad for lunch. I had lettuce and grated carrot, with fried red onions, pumpkin seeds and apple slices, all with balsamic vinegar, hummous and pitta bread. It was delish!
Monday, 13 July 2009
Saturday, 4 July 2009
There was pretty much nothing in the house to make lunch from, so this happened. It was surprisingly good, comprising of broad beans, butter beans, spinach, bussels sprouts, arrabiatta sauce from a jar, tomato puree, soy sauce, tandoori powder, curry powder, garlic and cream coconut. Actually, it was nearly miraculous that it tasted good. I ate it with couscous and pickle, and hoummus too.
Friday, 3 July 2009
This is the beginning of a scarf I'm making for my brother - it's growing with alarming speed.
And (another very similar pattern) this is going to be a little drawstring holdall.
I've got about ten projects going at once, but they're all getting reasonabe amounts of attention so it's ok. Had a linda maccartney pie for dinner as part of the new weekly 'Vegan pie and mash night'. My boyfriend did the cooking - we had pie, broad beans, sauteed greens with garlic and soy sauce, mash, and this mushroom and mustard gravy that he made up on the spot. It was a definite winner.
Tuesday, 30 June 2009
Long time no update. Now that life is less hectic, I'm hoping to get back into the kitchen. For now, here is a rubbish picture of the dinner my boyfriend made me - macaroni bolognese. It was so delicious! I questioned him about it, and he said he made the sauce with onion, garlic, aubergine, courgette, lentils, pearl barley, worcester sauce, basil and pepper. It was very hearty and very tasty!
Friday, 24 April 2009
I'm a big fan of 'The Trapdoor', and I made this stuffed-toy Berk as my latest project. It was fun to make, and surprisingly quick and easy. My sewing machine has developed an inability to sew, so I hand sewed this, which I enjoyed more than I thought I would. It was a good distraction from revision anyway.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkN_gPM9SWU - Click here to see Berk in action.
I made pizza for lunch yesterday! I made a pizza base out of brown bread flour, with garlic and herbs in it too. I rolled out a base, then cut it in half so my boyfriend could top his half with cheese. I left it to rise for about 45 minutes, because I was too hungry to wait any longer. It's topped with red onion rings, garlic, tomato sauce, pesto, barbecue sauce, and some 'bean balls' - leftovers from a disastrous attempt to make bean sausages, which were tasty, but fell apart.
It was so good. The photos don't really do it justice, but it looked smart. Oh, also it had some 'Parmezano' on the top, which didn't really add much.
Saturday, 11 April 2009
Here is a dandelion! I know they're weeds but I still think they're pretty.
Monday, 23 March 2009
Potato and Green Bean Creamy Mustard Bake
4 tbsp flour
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
400 ml soy milk
4 big potatoes
handful of green beans
salt to taste
- chop the potatoes into cubes, and boil for 15-20 minutes.
- heat the oven to 200C
- make a roux - melt the butter in a saucepan and stir the flour in.
- gradually add in the soya milk, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.
- add the mustard and simmer over a low heat for 5 minutes or so.
- drain the potatoes and green beans, then put into a casserole dish. Pour over the sauce.
- put in the oven, on a low shelf, and cook for 12-15 minutes.
The scones involved nutritional yeast (finally got hold of some - very exciting!) and garlic powder, and were very nice.
Pictured here - ginger roasted winter vegetables, sugar snap peas, hummus, and home made pickle. This was delicious, and easy to make. My pickle came out a strange purple colour, because I used red onions instead of normal ones.