Monday, April 30, 2007

Soup, Bread and Exciting News!

The other day I threw together some vegetable soup with what I had kicking around the house and it turned out really well. Wee G told me about three times while eating it “I reaaaaally like this soup” so I think I am on to a winner! It’s a very simple soup with lots of tasty veggies and a little kick from the black pepper. I have posted the recipe at the end if you want to give it a go.
To go with the soup I made Harvest Herb Bread from How It All Vegan. Oh wow…this bread is good! I used a mix of white whole wheat flour and whole wheat flour. I also omitted the raisins and nuts and added an extra half cup of soy milk. It turned out deliciously soft and moist…close to cakiness, but still savoury because of the herbs. And it smelled fantastic! My only problem with it was that I was being all sensible and not scoffing the whole thing at once and it went off really quickly. I stupidly didn’t put it in the fridge and it’s been about 30c here so I’m not really surprised…doh! Next time I’ll freeze half as soon as its cool!

Now on to the exciting news… Well it’s exciting for me and Wee G, perhaps no-one else… :) We are moving home to Scotland on 20th June! I am so excited and can’t wait to see all our family and friends, especially my 4 month old niece! We have been here for just over 3 years and while we have had so many good times and done so much we are both ready to go back home. So now I have to get packing and organising…don’t you just love moving?!

Simple Vegetable Soup
(makes about 6 servings)

½ large leek, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
3 medium carrots, diced
2 small white potatoes, peeled and diced
3 tsps vegetarian bouillon powder/paste or 1½ stock cubes
5 cups water
1 or 2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
1 cup plain soy milk

Place leek, onion, celery and carrots in a large pot over a medium-low heat with a few tablespoons of water. Cover and allow to sweat for about 10 minutes until vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally. Add water, potatoes and black pepper and bring to boil. Turn down heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add soy milk and peas and heat through. Remove around ¼ of soup from pot and blend in blender or food processor. Return blended soup back to pot along with rest of soup. Best if left for an hour or two before serving.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Seitan O Greatness and My Little Friend

I finally made the famous Seitan O Greatness that everyone has been making recently. Baking seitan is so much simpler than boiling and gives a much better texture... I don’t think I’ll boil seitan again. It was sweeter than I expected so I think next time I will need to change the spices a little.Once I’d made it I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I had been thinking about making vegetable chilli and decided to make seitan chilli instead. I just cut it in chunks and threw it in the food processor to make “mince”. It made a great chilli and I ended up with stacks of it. To go with the chilli I made cornbread for the first time. I mixed a few recipes I found on the internet and came up with a tasty, not-too-sweet bread. Wee G reckoned it was a bit like eating cake with dinner. What’s wrong with that I ask?!

This is my little friend who lives just outside my apartment with her other squirrel friends. They are all so cute and sit in the tree right beside my balcony all the time eating and peeking in. They are very good subjects for practising taking pics with our new camera :)

And here is the cornbread recipe if you'd like to try it:


1 cup cornmeal
1 cup white whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
4 tbsps raw sugar
½ tsp salt
1½ cups soy milk
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp water

Preheat oven to 400F. Place cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in bowl and mix thoroughly. In a separate bowl mix soy milk, oil and cornstarch and water. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix well. Place in lightly greased loaf tin and bake for 20-25 mins.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Vive Le Vegan!

Vive Le Vegan! by Dreena Burton is definitely my favourite cookbook. I’ve nowhere near made everything from the book, but everything that I have made is a winner! Plus Dreena has her own blog and is always happy to answer any queries you might have about her recipes.
Here are some things from the book I have made recently.
This is Chickpea Ratatouille. Dreena mentions in the book that this is her personal favourite, and it’s definitely become one of mine too! It’s a super simple and tasty dish...everything is mixed together then thrown in the oven for an hour or so. Unlike traditional ratatouille there’s no aubergine (eggplant) or courgettes (zucchini) instead the main ingredient is chickpeas mixed with an unusual combination of flavours including ginger, mustard seeds and oregano. Although it seems like a strange mix it works so well! Great with some quinoa!
Here’s some Tomato-Lentil Pasta Sauce over brown rice pasta. This really reminded me of Bolognese sauce and it is just as tasty. I sprinkled some nutritional yeast over after the photo and it was so good! I went and looked this one up in the book after reading about it on Laura’s thanks Laura!
And this is Pureed Chickpea Pasta Sauce with Fresh Herbs that Diann also blogged about the other day. I really enjoyed doesn’t seem like it’s made of chickpeas as it’s very creamy and different. We had it with rice noodles and broccoli. The fresh lemon squeezed over the top really complemented the flavour of the sauce (and the broccoli!). Wee G was not crazy about it so I don’t think it’s going to be a regular in this house. Ah well...

I’ve also made and blogged about Hummus-Quinoa Casserole, French Toast, Sunflower-Lentil Pie, Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies , Lemon Herb Tofu, Earthy Lentil Soup, Spicy Peanut Stir Fry, Fudgy Brownies , Pumpkin Seed Coated Lentil Patties, Moroccan Chickpea Patties. So if you’re looking for a new cookbook (and haven’t already got Vive!) and want simple, tasty and different recipes then I would definitely recommend Vive! (and no, I’m not on commission!!).

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Good Karma at Venice Beach

Last weekend we took a little trip to Venice Beach. We just wandered around the boardwalk area and beach and watched some basketball and skateboarders. There were no dancing rollerbladers though which was a shame as the last few times we have gone we have sat for ages watching them...they have some amazing moves!
And of course we ate! I found a groovy little place called Good Karma on the internet before we went. It was really easy to find as it’s directly opposite Muscle Beach. Their food looks like a typical fast food place, but it’s 100% vegan.
I got a Mushroom Swiss Burger. So big it required two hands to hold it! It was soooo good! Possibly the best veggie burger I’ve eaten! Unfortunately for me I had promised half of it to Wee G in exchange for half of his hot dog... After eating half I was very reluctant to hand over the rest to Wee G!
His hot dog was just your average veggie dog, nothing special, especially after the veggie burger! We also got fries and “chicken” strips. Both were super yummy! It was really, really windy so Wee G just stuck the camera in the bags for these photos!

So, if you are ever in Venice Beach I would totally recommend this place! It’s not very healthy, but it is very yummy!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Cheeky Wee Bargains and Perfect Pizza

I am always up for a cheeky wee bargain and they don't come much better than this. These cute little boards were found at the Dollar Spot in Target for a dollar each (obviously!). They are pretty useless for cutting on, but they make great pot stands and brighten up the kitchen!
I forgot to tell you about this fantastic pizza that Wee G brought home one night. He went out for veggie sushi one night when I couldn't be bothered cooking, but the sushi place had closed early and so he ventured in to a new pizza place called zpizza and came back with a gorgeous vegan pizza! I was a bit wary when I saw it as along with the mushrooms, peppers, tomato, onion and zucchini it looked like it had meat and cheese on it, but it was veggie burger and soy cheese :) All vegan and all delicious! Definitely one of the tastiest pizzas I've ever eaten! They have tons of locations so if there's one near you I would definitely advise trying out this pizza!

Monday, April 16, 2007

I'm Still Here!

Erm...hello! Sorry for my lack of blogging lately. The past week or so has not been the best for my family and while I’ve still been cooking and eating (of course :)) I haven’t been in much of a mood to enthuse about food here. But now I think it’s time to get back to it, so here’s some stuff we’ve been eating lately... This is Moroccan Chickpea and Lentil Soup from Vegetarian Soups For All Seasons by Nava Atlas. Strangely even though it has my favourite chickpeas and lentils this has been one of my least favourite soups from this book. I found it a little bland and had to spice it up some provided the inspiration for this meal. Yummy roasted veg on a baked potato topped with some Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet Cheddar Cheese. A tasty meal, but we could have done without the cheese. I’m not sure why I bought the vegan cheese. It’s only the second time since turning vegan that I’ve bought it and I think it will be the last...neither of us are really bothered about it. To use it up I made some macaroni cheese. And while we did really enjoy the meal I don’t think it will get me running out to the shops for more vegan cheese any time soon... And here it is with some roasted asparagus...mmmm!!! Another recipe from These are Black Bean and Butternut Tacos. The ones pictured are Wee G’s which I made with black beans, but mine had chickpeas instead. I read on the internet (I’m not sure where now) that to make your tortillas in to taco shells you should bend them over the oven rack and leave them to crisp up in the oven for a few minutes. Although they were a little wonky they turned out quite well and were super crispy. Any longer in the oven and they would have broken our teeth though... :) I made Aloo Mutter Gobi from Fairly Odd Tofu Mom’s recipe again. It is just so good that Wee G insisted I make it again. This time I used sweet potatoes and edamame instead of potatoes and peas, so I guess the name is rather inaccurate now, but whatever...! I also cut down on the oil again and instead of coconut milk I just used soy milk. It was obviously less rich and creamy, and perhaps a little runny (note to self: use less soy milk in future!) but I enjoyed it just as much. And to go with the curry I made some more naan bread. Oh yum! This time I added the baking powder when I was supposed to which helped a lot! I also sprayed a little oil over them before grilling which made them a bit browner. They are so good I could eat them by themselves!!
I’ve made Moroccan Chickpea Patties from Vive Le Vegan! several times before and they are gorgeous! My only problem with them is that they can be a little soft making it hard to fry them. This time I added a flax egg and baked them in the oven. I also omitted the breadcrumb coating. They turned out just as good as when I have fried them and they were less prone to falling apart. These are some sweet potato and carrot sticks baked in the oven with some cumin, cinnamon and allspice and coated with a little spray oil. These are fantastically tasty and are a great side to go with almost anything. I made some garlic mayonnaise (just Veganaise and garlic mixed together) to dip them in....yum! And we have been eating some salads too. All pretty boring and much the same, but this one is quite pretty so I thought I’d share! I attempted to make a vegan Cadbury’s Crème Egg around Easter time. I have to admit that I in my veggie days I was quite partial to a Crème Egg even though they are super sickly and sweet. The original recipe was from here and advised to make the inside first and refrigerate it to harden, then dip in chocolate. If you’ve ever eaten a Crème Egg you will know that the inside is quite soft and not the easiest thing to dip in warm chocolate. To address this issue I decided to make the chocolate in an egg mould first and then fill with the fondant centre. Unfortunately I couldn’t find egg moulds and tried to use these little plastic eggs that not only halved the wrong way and had holes in the bottom but were also impossible to get the chocolate out of. They did come out tasting quite like Crème Eggs (although they were a little too strongly vanilla flavoured), so if I find proper egg moulds before next Easter I’ll probably attempt them again. The one pictured is the only one I managed to get out of the “mould” without breaking...

Looking forward to catching up on all the blogs I’ve been missing lately... Have a great day!! :)

Friday, April 6, 2007

So So Cute!

This is probably the most adorable thing I've ever seen! Thought you all might like to see it :)

Polenta and Baba Ganoush

I read Susan at’s recent post about baba ganoush and her enthusiasm for it made me really want to try it. It’s super simple to make. I think it’s a taste that takes a little while to get used (for me anyway), but the more I ate the more I liked it!. Even though it gives you mega garlic breath I really enjoyed it with my celery and carrot sticks :)As I was already toasting the aubergine for the baba ganoush I thought I might as well throw some other veggies in the oven. So I also roasted some onion, courgette, cauliflower and broccoli. I know they look like kind of burnt and shrivelled, but they were soooo good! I’ve never roasted cauliflower before and I think it’s the tastiest way I’ve ever eaten it. Even Wee G liked it and he generally doesn’t like cauliflower (unless it’s in curry). I served the roasted veg over Millet and Spinach Polenta from VWAV. I also made a lazy, quick tomato sauce from a can of fire roasted tomatoes, basil and garlic.
Next night we had polenta again. This time I topped it with some pesto I whizzed up. I only added one tablespoon of olive oil and used some water to make it slightly “saucier”. It worked really well and I prefer this to a regular pesto laden with oil. And it's much lower in fat! Yay!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

A Whole Lotta Food

First up is an amazingly yummy curry posted originally by Fairly Odd Tofu Mom a while back. It’s Aloo Mutter Gobi (Spicy Cauliflower, Potatoes and Peas). I saw it again on Veg-a-nut's blog and she was raving about it. Like veg-a-nut I used less oil and light coconut milk. I also used edamame in place of the peas. I have to agree with veg-a-nut, it is soooo good! Anytime I have made Indian food before it’s never been quite as good as from a restaurant, but (even if I do say so myself!!) this could easily have came from a top notch Indian restaurant! Wee G was well impressed! So, thank you Fairly Odd Tofu Mom for this wonderful recipe! I will be making it again many times I am sure!

I also made some garlic and coriander naan bread to go along with it. I forgot to add the baking powder and only realised just before I was going to cook them...oops! So I tried to knead the baking powder in to the dough!! They actually came out reasonably well considering!

Then I still had some coconut milk left over so used it making this Coconut Millet Pudding. I got the idea from a recipe on the millet packet that used dried coconut. I missed out the dried coconut and used the coconut milk in place of some of the soy milk in the recipe. It came out pretty nice, but slightly dry and I had to add more soy milk after it was cooked. Yummy served with a dollop of jam. It wasn’t very coconutty mind you...

Artichokes were on sale in their thousands in Trader Joe’s last week and I’ve only ever eaten them a couple of times before so I jumped at the opportunity to try them again. I followed the instructions I found on this web site and served them with some melted Earth Balance margarine and some Vegenaise (thinned down a little). I know that you eat far from the whole thing, I was a little disappointed that for all the effort there really was next to nothing to eat...I couldn’t even find much in the way of hearts in them. I probably ate more mayo and margarine than artichokes!!

Another exciting find, at Whole Foods this time, was Living Harvest Hemp Milk. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as hemp milk and was keen to try it in the hopes it would be a nice alternative to my usual soy milk. First of all I drank it plain and I really didn’t like it. A couple of mouthfuls was more than enough! It was kind of nutty, but even after a good shake it seemed a little oily to me. However I did use it to make a quick smoothie the next day and I was happy to find that I couldn’t taste the yucky flavour this time (smoothie made with 1.5 cups hemp milk, 2 dates and a banana). If I was to continue to buy it I would probably use it mostly as an ingredient until I got a bit more used to the flavour.
This is some scrambled tofu from VWaV with added courgettes and broccoli. This is so good and makes a great brekkie with some whole wheat toast.
This is a mix of two recipes I have posted about previously – Far East Spicy Tofu and Tofu and Pineapple Stir Fry. It was basically Meoldy’s sauce from the Far East Spicy Tofu with tofu and fresh pineapple, broccoli and mushrooms. It was gorgeous! I love Melody’s’s so tasty!