Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Veggie Pasties

I made this pasty to use up the leftover veggies and puff pastry from the night before. All I did was mix the veggies with a tiny amount of soy milk (to prevent them drying up), then rolled the pastry in a circle, slapped on the veggies, folded over and sealed. It went in the oven for about 15 minutes and that was it.
Wee G and I both thought it was very yummy. I commented that I could wrap anything in puff pastry and Wee G would eat it, and he agreed! How about some Brussels sprouts and Punk Rock Chickpea Gravy pasties?!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Happy Birthday to Wee G

Yesterday was Wee G’s birthday and to celebrate we had Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World (where else?!). Why have only one birthday cake when you can have twelve?! These are orangey cupcakes with an orangey pudding centre and orangey butter cream frosting. So, they are quite orangey... They are super sweet, but very , very nice...and also a little addictive... I think I will need to lock up this book soon or Wee G and I will be enormous! I made them with the help of my super sophisticated and professional piping bag that I got in Target for a buck. It actually does the job pretty well. Any wonkiness in the icing department is due to me rather than the equipment. And who knew what fun it is to make holes in cakes and squish them full of pudding till they burst? Well, that’s what happened to the first one (I have tried to cunningly hide it up the back of the photo). For the birthday dinner we had “chicken” and mushroom pie with roast potatoes, pizza green beans (Sautéed Green Beans with Mushrooms from Vegan With A Vengeance) and baby carrots and peas, all as requested by the birthday boy himself. Obviously the “chicken” and mushroom pie does not have real chicken, I used Morningstar Farms Meal Starters Chik'n Strips, and it’s not technically a pie, but it does have real mushrooms!! And it’s really easy to make! Here's the recipe:

“Chicken” and Mushroom Pie Recipe (serves 2)

½ pack Morningstar Farms Meal Starters Chik’n Strips
½ - ¾ sheet puff pastry (defrosted)
1 cup soy milk
1 tbsp flour
1 cup mushrooms
1 tbsp oil
1 large garlic clove, crushed
Pinch mixed herbs
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400F (200c).
Whisk flour in to soy milk and set aside.
Cut puff pastry sheet in half and roll out to desired shapes. Usually I just roll out to rectangles, but this time I cut it in to heart shapes. You can use a sharp knife to mark designs on pastry if you wish. Place puff pastry on a lightly oiled tray and bake in oven for around 15 minutes until lightly golden brown.
Meanwhile heat half of the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and cook mushrooms until soft (about 5 minutes). Set aside.
Heat remaining oil in a large pan over a medium heat and fry Chik’n Strips until browned (about 5 minutes). Add mushrooms, flour/soy milk mixture, salt pepper and herbs. Turn heat up slightly and simmer, stirring frequently for a couple of minutes until thickened.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Curried Split Pea Soup

This is a great soup to make if you are not in the mood for chopping loads of veggies. Just chop one onion and that’s it... It maybe takes about 10 minutes to prep this soup and after that it takes around an hour to cook. So simple and so tasty. Nearly forgot to say it is from Vegan With A Vengeance.

Friday, January 26, 2007

I Have Been Tempted by Tempeh...

Ok, I know that title is rubbish, but I am trying to be more imaginative! And I have actually finally been tempted to buy some tempeh. I ate it once years ago, didn’t enjoy it and then just forgot it existed. It’s not something that I ever saw much of in the stores in the UK anyway, but here I have seen it many times here and always thought to myself – yeah, I’ll get some next time So, finally I decided to give it a go again and have now realised that I actually really like it! I haven’t tried anything more exciting than adding it to stir fries yet, but have found a few interesting looking recipes that I might have to test out soon.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


25th January is Burns' Night and traditionally in Scotland people get together and celebrate the poetry of Rabbie Burns. The typical meal is haggis (if you don’t know what haggis is made from you can find out here, but it’s not pleasant and definitely not vegan) and tatties (potatoes) and neeps (turnips). In Scotland you can actually buy vegan haggis in the supermarket quite easily. I figured I would just skip the main course though and go straight to dessert. I made Cranachan, a Scottish dessert that is usually made from oats, cream, honey, whisky and raspberries. After making this I realised that I could use soy yogurt instead of the fake cream and I think I would do that next time...much easier!! This makes a nice breakfast if you miss out the whisky.
Cranachan Recipe (serves 2)

2/3 cups oats
1¾ cups whipped “cream” (recipe here )
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 tablespoon whisky
1 ½ cups raspberries
Mint to decorate

Place oats on a baking tray and toast under grill until lightly browned. This will only take a few minutes. Allow to cool.
Mix cream, oats, agave nectar and whisky together.
Place raspberries in glass, reserving some for decoration.
Pour cream mixture over raspberries and then decorate with reserved raspberries and sprig of mint.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Baked Potatoes with Chickpea Salad

I had a craving for baked potatoes but didn’t have any big potatoes so used two little ones each. They are topped with my favourite sandwich filling/baked potato topping – chickpea salad (recipe below). I have seen many versions of this recipe on the internet, many calling it mock tuna salad. Personally I don’t really like the idea that it might taste like tuna, but I do love it! The potatoes were served with a little Earth Balance margarine, the chickpea salad and a little rocket with the fantastic Balsamic-Garlic Flax Oil from Vive Le Vegan! that I read about in Dreena’s blog the other day. If you are looking for a way to get some more Omega 3s in to your diet then look no further...this stuff is great! Even better than the Omega Ketchup from the other day I think. This was a tasty, simple and filling meal...makes me wonder why we don’t have baked potatoes more often.

Chickpea Salad Recipe (serves 2)

1 tin chickpeas (drained, rinsed and mashed)
1 stalk celery (diced)
1 medium carrot (grated)
1 medium tomato (diced)
1/2 cup frozen sweetcorn (defrosted)
2-3 tbsps Vegenaise
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything in a big bowl. That’s it :)

Monday, January 22, 2007

Super Sundaes

We made Sundaes using some of the brownies from the other day. The photo is not too good...i was more concerned with eating the sundae than taking photos!! I heated the brownies in the microwave a little then added some Whole Foods Vanilla Soy Cream (soy ice cream), some hot fudgy chocolate sauce (recipe below) and topped it off with some Soyatoo and some frozen cherries (defrosted). This is the first can of Soyatoo that I have ever bought. I just bought it because I saw it in the store rather than because I really wanted any kind of cream replacement. I think the flavour is nice enough...tastes more like air than anything else :) But it’s good for decoration more than flavour. You may be thinking that the sundae is quite big, well we had one each and neither of us managed to finish them. As usual my eyes were bigger than my stomach and I only ate just over half of mine. It was really scrummy, but it was just getting too sickly sweet by the end. Maybe I will learn my lesson and make it smaller next time...probably not!

Hot Fugdy Chocolate Sauce Recipe (serves 2)

This is based on a sauce that my mum used to make years ago. It’s really fast and easy to make and is great with ice cream.

2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp margarine (I use Earth Balance Whipped)
2 tbsp maple syrup/golden syrup

Place all ingredients in small pot over medium heat. Stir frequently until margarine is melted and ingredients have blended together. Do not boil. Serve immediately.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Macaroni Cheese

Last week I went in to the Follow Your Heart store (home of Follow Your Heart Gourment Cheese and Vegenaise ) as it’s really near me. I don’t actually shop there often as I think it’s expensive and I can buy Vegenaise in Whole Foods which I go in to all the time. I bought some of their vegan cheese as I have read so much about it on the internet. Everyone seems to love it so I thought I would get myself some and see what the fuss is about. To be honest I don’t miss cheese as a vegan so I’ve not been tempted to buy it before. I used some last week in my Cheddar Oat Griddle Biscuits and decided to try and make some macaroni cheese with it tonight. I think it looks a little too orangey, but it actually tastes pretty good and very much like “real” macaroni cheese. Wee G commented that it actually tastes a little “too cheesy”...ha ha!!! The pasta I used was Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta. We usually have wholewheat pasta so this was a nice change. It’s a little lighter than wholewheat pasta and a bit more suited to macaroni cheese. It cooks very fast. The packet says 4-6 minutes. I checked it at 4 minutes and it was not ready, but by 5 it was really soft and I think I had actually over cooked it as it began breaking apart a little when I mixed the cheese sauce in. I served it with some garlic bread and peas.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Leslie's Fantastic Tofu Noodle Soup

I have made this soup about 6 times since reading about it on Leslie's blog. It is absolutely delicious...nice and spicy and I think it tastes even better the day after it's made. I pretty much follow Leslie's recipe, but I have to half the recipe unfortunately because I don't have a pot big enough to make the full recipe!
I cube the tofu before frying it and then throw it in the non stick frying pan with some spray oil. Then I add about ¼ tsp of all the herbs and spices already in the soup and also 1 tsp soy sauce.
I fry this for about 8 minutes until brown and crispy like above.

I really love this soup and Wee G has said that it’s his favourite soup thanks Leslie!! I am thinking that perhaps next time I will try making the whole amount in two separate pots, so that I have twice as much :)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Amaaaaazing Brownies

These are the scrummiest brownies ever... I know the photos doesn’t make them look that great, but trust me, they are yum! I did ruin them slightly with my impatience...hence the reason they look a little rubbish, but they taste fantastic. I didn’t really keep them in the oven quite long enough and then I was in such a hurry to get them out the tin and try them that they fell apart on the way...
The recipe is from Vive Le Vegan! which is fast becoming my favourite cookbook. The other day when I made cupcakes they came out with a kind of strange flavor. Today just before I was about to add vanilla essence to my brownie batter I realised that I think this was what caused the problem with my cupcakes. It smelled kind of weird. I was afraid to use it as I was determined to have some super chocolately delicious treat today so I subbed some almond essence instead (only ½ tsp instead of 1tsp of vanilla essence as in the recipe). I also added 1/3 cup of chopped walnuts.
If you are having a bad day and need some cheering up, get your mixing bowl out and your oven on and make these and you will be happy! I promise :)

I Heart Punk Rock Chickpea Gravy

This is from Vegan With A Vengeance. Isa says you will make this at least once a week, and I would if only I could get Wee G to eat it once a week. I won’t tell you what he says it looks like, but he’s not a fan, let’s put it that way. He won’t touch it, but I guess that means twice as much for me :) I don’t bash up the chickpeas too much so my gravy is quite lumpy and thick. In fact I don’t really think of it as gravy as such, more like a super thick sauce. I use half the recommended amount of soy sauce (in fact I usually use tamari or Braggs instead). When the recipes calls for a “pinch” of each spice I actually measure it out as ¼ tsp which is probably a lot more than intended, but that’s the way I like it and it works out yummy! Byt the way, that’s some steamed spinach lurking behind the potatoes in the photo, in case you were wondering.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

African Sweet Potato Stew

I loooove this recipe. I found it on and have made it about 4 times and I always really enjoy it. Unfortunately Wee G isn’t so keen. He eats it but doesn’t love it like I do... I use tinned tomatoes in place of passatta and some Tabasco instead of cayenne pepper. I also actually use yams not sweet potatoes because that’s what they usually have in the store. After typing that I went to Wikipedia to check the difference between yams and sweet potatoes and they say that in the US sweet potatoes are often called they may actually be sweet potatoes...who knows what I am eating?! Anyway, this recipe is super yummy, so try it!! We always have it with brown rice as shown in the photo.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Winter Celery, Potato and Mushroom Soup with Cheddar Oat Griddle Biscuits

This is from Vegetarian Soups For All Seasons by Nava Atlas. The weather has been cold (well, for here) lately so I wanted to make some kind of warm wintery soup and as this has winter in the name it seemed to fit the bill. I really like barley so that was an added incentive (I know barley is not in the name, but there’s some in there!). I pretty much stuck to the recipe apart from adding salt-free seasoning. I don’t generally buy stuff like that (I bought some Spike before and wasn’t crazy about it) so I made my own little mixture and added that. It turned out pretty good. I guess it could turn out a whole variety of ways considering the variety of flavours you could get in salt-free seasoning.

I also made Cheddar Oat Griddle Biscuits also from the same book. I think I cut them a little thick and they would be nicer thinner. Even though I halved the salt in the recipe (which I do with most recipes as I don’t like salty things) these turned out very salty. They were salty enough for Wee G to comment on the fact and he likes his food salty. The margarine and soy cheese added enough salt and if I made them again I would not add any additional salt at all.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Pumpkin Seed Coated Lentil Patties and Vegan Strength

After making Moroccan Chickpea Patties from Vive Le Vegan! I decided to try the Pumpkin Seed Coated Lentil Patties from the same book. I made a few changes – I used green lentils instead of brown, ground coriander instead of seeds, a regular onion instead of a red onion and curry powder instead of paste. They were really good and had a nice lightly spiced flavor. We had them along with mashed potatoes and sweetcorn. On the left hand side of the plate is some Omega Ketchup, also from Vive Le Vegan! It’s basically ketchup with flax oil mixed in. It’s such a good, sneaky way of getting some more Omega 3’s in your diet. I didn’t add as much as suggested in the book and even though I don’t generally like the taste of flax oil it blended really nicely with the ketchup and didn't taste oily. Unfortunately Wee G was not fooled and said the ketchup tasted funny...

This is my garlic crusher. I use it every day, or at least I did until the bottom fell out of it. Now, it may have been overuse or old age that did it, but I prefer to think that it broke due to my incredible vegan strength. I am so strong that I can break solid metal. Okay, maybe not, but next time someone tells you that vegans are weak due to lack of protein (or whatever) tell them about this guy.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Shiny Happy Cakes

These are Your Basic Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. The cupcakes are really moist and I could happily eat them with no frosting...but to make them a little prettier I added (a little) frosting. While I think the photos in the book make the cupcakes look gorgeous with a ton of frosting towering atop I think I would find that much frosting super sickly sweet. So, I halved the recipe and spread a thin layer on each cake and to me that’s plenty. Maybe I’m just mean...
As I said these are really moist and the texture was spot on and they looked very good, but there was a bit of a funny taste to them. I think it's because of the amount of vanilla/almond essence in them. At the time of adding it I did think to myself that it seemed rather a lot (1.5 tsps in total) but followed the recipe none the less. Next time I think I would use about half and they would be lovely.

Stewed Tofu and Potates in Miso Gravy Doesn't Go With Courgettes

This is another recipe from Vegan With A Vengeance. I have made this several times and love it! Isa suggests that this is served over mashed potatoes, but, as much as I love potatoes, that seems like potato overload to me. Usually I eat it with some kind of green vegetable on the side. Today I only had some courgettes (zucchini) which wouldn’t be my first choice to go with this dish...but that’s what I had! So, I fried the courgettes in a little olive oil with some garlic, tomatoes, black pepper and red pepper flakes. They were yummy, but not the best thing to go with this. Ah least there was some colour on my plate!!

Sunday, January 14, 2007


We had leftover Moroccan Chickpea Patties today with more potato wedges again. But this time I mixed a little of the Ginger Dipping Sauce with some Vegenaise to make a little dip (on the right in the photo). We also had Sautéed Green Beans with Mushrooms from Vegan With A Vengeance. This is the first time I have made these and they were really good! I omitted the wine as I didn’t have any, but I don’t think the recipe was lacking without it. Wee G really liked them and he’s not a fan of green beans so we might be eating them this way in the future. The oregano adds a lovely pizza type flavor so these will now be known in our house as pizza green beans.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Vegan Factory and Pancakes with Cinnamon Fruit

Vegan Factory is a yummy vegan Thai restaurant near where we live and not, as Wee G claims, a place where vegans are mashed up and made in to burgers. It’s my favourite place to eat out…I love being able to go out to eat and be able to choose anything on the menu! Plus the food is delicious and the staff are really friendly. The photos are taken on my phone so they are not great.
We started with “Fish” and Chips…not exactly Thai but very yummy. The “fish” tastes kind of fishy, but not so much that it actually feels like you are eating real fish (the shrimp on the other hand tastes really real to me and I can’t eat it…it freaks me out!). In the photo the “fish” looks quite like the chips, but it has dark bits on the ends.
I ordered Tofu with Garlic and Black Pepper. I usually get a curry, but wanted to try something else. It was really nice, but I will probably go back to curry next time. I don’t know how well you can see in the photo, but the rice is molded in to a heart shape…very cute!
Wee G ordered Pepper Steak with Baby Corn and Mushrooms. It’s fast becoming his favourite. He can order food from Vegan Factory for lunch through his work and they pay for it…lucky boy!
Today for brunch we had Pancakes with Cinnamon Fruit. Before moving to the US, we rarely ate pancakes, apart from on Pancake Day. But as they are considered breakfast food here we feel that we should eat them every weekend…just to fit in of course!! I got the original recipe from ages ago and use it all the time. I omit the oil and use half whole wheat flour, half all purpose flour. If you try this recipe you must make sure not to overmix the batter. It’s best to mix all dry ingredients together well before adding the liquid…this way your pancakes will be super fluffy!

The Cinnamon Fruit is just made from whatever fruit we have around (in this case apple, banana and tangerine) mixed with a drop of lemon juice, water and cinnamon. This is then heaped on top of the pancakes and smothered in maple syrup…yummy!!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Mmmmmoroccan Chickpea Patties

These Moroccan Chickpea Patties are from Vive Le Vegan! by Dreena Burton. I adore chickpeas, but I am not a fan of anything with an aniseed type flavour, so the fact that there was fennel in them was putting me off. However, after reading the rave reviews on Don't Get Mad, Get Vegan's blog and Leslie's blog I decided to go for it...and I am so glad I did!! These are very, very tasty and the fennel flavour is very subtle and not in any way overpowering.
The only change I made to the recipe was to use green pepper instead of red. I did add a little extra water when the mixture was in the food processor as the recipe suggested I may, but next time I probably won’t as I found the patties a little too soft.
I served these with Ginger Dipping Sauce (also from Vive Le Vegan!), spicy potato wedges, a little “salad” of rocket (arugula), tomato, cucumber and some tomato ketchup for the potato wedges. Wee G and I both loved the dipping sauce and ended up pouring it over the patties and salad...yummy!!

I think this is actually the first time I have ever bought and cooked with fennel as I have always been put off by the aniseed type flavour. On cutting fennel the smell is quite strong, but the aroma and flavour after cooking is much more delicate. From what I remember it is usually sold in UK supermarkets without the stalks and leaves which is a shame as they make it very pretty. Apparently it was used in traditional recipes for absinthe and was one of the nine sacred herbs used in Medieval Times to fight disease. It’s also thought to ward off evil spirits so, lots of reasons to eat more of it!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Chocolate Rice Puff Treats

A while ago I bought a bag of Organic Rice Puffs thinking they would be like Rice Krispies, but they are soft and chewy rather than crispy (hence the reason they are called puffs and not kripsies I guess ) They are more like Sugar Puffs, but without the sugar. If I had looked at them more closely in the bag while in the store I would have probably realised this, but never mind. Anyway I am not too keen on them so today I decided to find a way to use them up a bit faster and came up with this recipe. Mind you, I only used 1 cup for the whole recipe so this isn’t exactly going to use them up in a hurry...

In an effort to make these a semi healthy treat I added pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds and raisins. They are quite yummy and the recipe only made 12 so I don’t think they will last too long!

1 cup Rice Puffs
½ cup semi sweet chocolate chips
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup raisins (soaked in hot water for about 10 mins, then drained)
¼ cup almonds (roughly chopped)
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup pumpkin seeds

1 Combine chocolate chips and maple syrup in microwaveable bowl and microwave for about a minute on medium heat.
2 Meanwhile combine all other ingredients in a large bowl.
3 Add melted chocolate chip mixture to dry ingredients and mix well.
4 Divide mixture between 12 cup cases.
5 Cool in fridge for 3-4 hours.
6 Enjoy.