Monday, 26 January 2009

Penne with White Beans and Greens

I was looking for something different and a bit more protein-y than pasta usually is, so I tried this. I used butter beans instead of haricots, and put a couple of spoons of balsamic vinegar in it at the end, but it was lovely. I like the 'Students Go Vegan Cookbook' because it's designed for kids that can't cook, and I tend to cook from it when I can't be bothered to put too much effort in.

In other news, why does the US call beans by different names? White beans? Navy beans?! I had to look these up on Wikipedia before I could work out what this recipe was going on about. Garbanzo beans?!?! Madness!

I've not been cooking much new recently, eating alot of bubble and squeak and chilli. I've gotten into a bit of a breakfast rut too, so I'm going to make breakfast cooking my February mission.

Chai Latte Cupcakes

These were mental. I didn't have plain soya yogurt, so I used a peach alpro, and they turned out really really well. The peach overpowered the chai a bit, I thought, so next time I'll endeavour to follow the recipe. Also, I made up a normal icing glaze rather than just sifting sugar over the top. They were great though!

As you can see, I think I'll need alot of practice before I manage to ice anything nicely.

In other news, I discovered how not to make soup. I put a potato, a cabbage, a stock cube, and a tablespoon of Mayola! into a blender, then heated it. It looked amazing (well, luminous anyway) but tasted disgusting. My flatmates loved it, but it was seriously the worst thing I have made in months.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Carrot Cake Pudding

My flatmate cooked an amazing meal tonight - Stuffed Winter Squash from Student's Go Vegan Cookbook. It was amazing, and fancy too.

For pudding I made this - a carrot sandwich cake adapted from the recipe in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World, with chocolate buttercream in the middle, and lemon buttercream on the outside. I topped it with bananas and squigly icing for the sake of aesthetics. It was pretty nice, and overall a great meal. I love being cooked for!

Monday, 12 January 2009

Blender Cake

Today I improvised a cake, and did it in the blender to see if it would work. It did!

1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup soya milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 banana
1 cap of vanilla essence
a few shakes of cinnamon and ginger

- blend everything but the baking powder and bicarb until smooth
- mix in the bicarb and whizz a little more
- cook a 200degreesC for 1/2 an hour.

I iced it with sugar and lemon juice, with some fresh ginger and pecan nuts on the top. Not bad at all.

Friday, 9 January 2009

Your Basic Chocolate Cupcake

As the name suggests, this recipse was really easy to follow. I iced them with a coffee-icing sugar concoction, and a plain icing suger glace for contrast. Very very nice. This picture doesn't really do them justice. Food photography is not my forte!

Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Getting the Vegan Cupcakes book has sent me into a frenzy of cupcake making. This is the second recipe I made from the book.

Here they are, nude, before being iced! I am terrible at icing anything, but these turned out alright. Maybe it's one of those 'improve with practice' things.

Iced, with a pecan nut and icing sugar snow on the top. They all squidged into funny shapes, because I cooked them at my dad's house, and he doesn't have a muffin pan. They tasted really, really great.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Fancy-Pants Pickle

Today I made a meal of Kidney Bean Burgers (from 'Easy Vegan Cooking' by Leah Leneman), with french fries from VwaV - these were so good, and too easy to be true. And to go with this I made pickle, because we have run out of ketchup and I wanted something fancy. I served it up all nouveau cuisine, which impressed my housemates very much.

1 large onion, finely chopped
5 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp salt
3/4 cup sugar

- boil the vinegar and completely dissolve the sugar and salt. this won't take long
- add the onions and tomatoes
- boil for about an hour, stirring frequently. be careful not to spill any, as this mixture is extremely hot
- let it cool for a while before eating

I also made lemon gem cupcakes from vwav, in petits-fours cases. They were extremely cute, but I forgot to take photos. Derr...

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Cabbage and green bean stir fry

School has started again and that means that I am busy. So while I'm still cooking, I'm cooking fast and simple rather than complicated and fancy. My favourite food of the moment is Cabbage, Green Beans and Noodles because it takes less than ten minutes to prepare, it's filling and has energy and green things in it, and (with bargain bin noodles) cost 20p per meal. Obviously you can jazz it up with better ingredients, and probably make it more nutritious; here is the basic method.

a handful of green beans
balsamic vinegar
soy sauce
1/4 cabbage, sliced up very thin
noodles of your choice, to serve one
clove of garlic
knob of fresh ginger

- start frying the beans, because they will take longest
- prepare your noodles
- add the cabbage to the pan
- add the garlic and ginger, both shredded up finely or crushed
- splash balsamic vinegar over everything
- cook for a minute. this mellows the vinegar, and makes it less tangy.
- splash soy sauce over everything
- cook for another minute
- add noodles, mix it all up, and fry it off for a little longer
- eat!

Sunday, 4 January 2009

New Books and Trips Out

I had some very thoughtful christmas presents this year. Both my mother and flatmate bought me Vegan With a Vengeance, which I already had but lost, which was great. Like most of you I'm sure, I love love love Vwav, and I love love love, whch I'm sure you're familiar with (but if not, familiarise yourself now! You won't regret it!)

Also from my mother I got a copy of 'Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World', which is amazing in every way, and cute to the extreme. Also, she gave me lots of exciting baking things. So far I've made carrot cake cupcakes, peanut butter cupcakes, and basic golden cupcakes (I have photos, and will update when I upload them.) Seriously good.

My brother and I went out for high tea at the Pogo Cafe in Hackney I had cheesecake, which is something I've missed, and I was very impressed. If you're in London, definitely check it out.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Pasta and cabbage!

Someone cooked for me tonight, which was amazing! I was a little sceptical about the combination at first but it turned out to be delicious. Here is the recipe:

Pasta with tomato-tofu sauce and balsamic cabbage
You will need:
Enough pasta for everyone (penne is my favourite)

For the cabbage:
2 cloves garlic
1/2 a savoy cabbage
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce

For the tomato sauce:
pinch of basil
pinch of paprika
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp blended up tofu

- cook and drain the pasta
- the sauce is really easy, just mix everything together in a pan and simmer for 10 minutes. The sauce is simple, but creamy
- cut the cabbage into really thin slices.
- fry in a big frying pan, with the garlic, for two minutes
- add the balsamic vinegar and soy sauce at the same time, and fry over a medium heat for another 3-4 minutes.

This looked really fancy, and tasted great - really flavourful and fresh.