Sunday, 31 May 2009

A Mexican Lunch

As my friend is always spending a load of money on lunches while at work I've been trying to make him food to take with him instead. As I'm quite into making Japanese bento style lunches for myself I wanted to put something similar together for him, but without all the rice. As a vegan I've found that when going certain places for the day it is almost essential to pack your own lunch to take along, otherwise they'll be no hope of finding anything to eat for the day. I can't even find anything remotely vegan at my university, so this has forced me to be more creative with my lunches.
This lunch is really easy and quick to put together.

2 tortilla wraps

1 tin re fried beans (you can also make your own, but it takes more time)

1 jar pinto bean salsa (or similar)

Vegan cheese (optional)

1 tablespoon of olive oil

cookie/ sandwich cutter of any shape

I first took one of my tortilla wraps and placed it on a plate. I spread the re fried beans all over straight from the tin. Then add vegan cheese if you like and place the other tortilla on top, kind of like a sandwich.

Place oil in frying pan and heat up. Take your cookie cutter and carefully cut out of your 'sandwich' as many shapes as you can and place them in the frying pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.

I packed the lunch box by first placing in a bed of salad, and I added a sauce container of salsa for dipping. In a separate container I also added a vegan cupcake and some grapes (not pictured).

This also makes a great dinner, you do not have to cut shapes out they can be cooked whole. The shapes are just more convenient and 'bite size' for a lunch.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Omelet

Well I've ordered my copy of 'Vegan Brunch' by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I'm a big fan of all her cookbooks as they helped me loads when I was first looking at the idea of being vegan and knowing what to eat! As I read some reviews before buying I noticed that somebody said it included an omelet recipe. Now being a big fan of omelets before going vegan I was too impatient to wait for the book to arrive so looked around on the net and from looking at the basic ingredients put this recipe together.
It is not easy at all to stop this from sticking to the pan, and may take some practice to get it looking perfect - I'm still not there yet but have improved with each attempt I made this morning. The mixture may also look like it needs more milk - do not add it as the mixture will then be too runny. This makes two so be sure to divide in half when cooking or halve the recipe when making if you only want one. It's also best to refrigerate the mixture for half an hour or so before using, but if in a hurry it's not essential.

1 carton of firm silken tofu (I used the Dragonfly brand)

2 tablespoons of rice milk (or any other milk substitute that you like)

1 tablespoon of egg re placer powder

2 tablespoons of corn powder (to thicken)

2 teaspoons of tahini

1 teaspoon of onion salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

a very tiny pinch of turmeric for colour

1 teaspoon of sea salt

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika or masala powder (which ever taste you'd like - I liked the paprika best)

Blend all ingredients together using either a hand blender or a normal blender as long as the jug isn't too big.
Heat a frying pan so that it is very hot and use a tiny amount of olive oil. A very good none stick pan is best for this.
Cook as you would a normal omelet and add whatever filling you fancy. I used mushrooms, cheatin' ham and ripped up slice of toffuti mozzarella cheese slice.
Do not worry if it breaks up or doesn't look great the first few attempts as it will still taste great!

Friday, 22 May 2009

Vanilla & Almond Cake

This is my new most loved cake! After following lots of great cookbook recipes for quite some time I now finally have my own.
To make this great looking cake I used a spring form pan with a heart topped bundt insert. It's available at the moment from Ikea in the UK.
For the topping I used a store brought vegan icing in a piping tube.
The cake pan I used for this was quite large, so if you are using a regular cake tin you may need to halve this recipe.

3 Cups of plain flour

4 Teaspoons Baking Powder

1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

3 Teaspoons of Egg Replacement Powder

2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

2 Teaspoons Almond Flavouring

4 Teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar

1/2 Cup Oil (Nut or Vegetable)

1/2 Cup of Maple Syrup

2 Cups of Soy or Rice Milk

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees, for about 10 minutes prior to baking. Mix all your dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately first and then add wet to dry and mix.
Grease your cake tin well and pour in the mixture.
Bake for 40 minutes.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

The best damn nacho 'un' cheese sauce you will EVER eat

I am not a great fan of vegan cheeses. I love Cheezly's Melting mozzarella and Toffuti Cream Cheese and thats where it ends. I've tried lots of faux cheese sauces for all kinds of recipes and really disliked every one - until now.
I always loved that orange nacho cheese that they serve at places like the cinema, but could never manage to re create it at home, and especially since I've been avoiding cheese for quite some time now I felt I had to at least give this one last go... and it was worth it! This is honestly the best faux cheese recipe you will ever eat. It's not my recipe originally (hence american cup measures) but I adapted it quite a bit.

1 cup nutritional yeast flakes

2 teaspoons egg replacer powder

2 tablespoons corn powder (to thicken)

1/4 cup of cashews

1/2 cup of sweet peppers (from a jar)

2 cups of water

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 teaspoons of sea salt

1/2 teaspoon onion salt

1 teaspoon of cumin


Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and process till completely mixed together and cashews have broken down.

Simmer over medium heat for around 5 minutes while stirring all the time to thicken.

Things we like :)



I take this great vitamin supplement daily - it's available direct from the Vegan Society here in the UK and comes in packets of 90 - thats three months supply. Better news is it's under a tenner including postage.


'Veganese' is a great hair conditioner from Lush. It may be a little pricey at 10.72 for 500g but it's sure worth it! A lovely lemony conditioner thats great for all hair types and makes your hair feel lovely!

Tofu Scramble - Spinach and Tomato Style

I was very sceptical at first. Tofu for breakfast? You've got to be joking right? Well no, it's actually a delicious alternative to scrambled eggs. I sometimes make mine into a fully breakfast by having some hash browns, Linda Mcartney sausages and toast on the side.

1 package of firm tofu (I've found Cauldron's to be the best - can be found in fresh section on most supermarkets)

Large handful of button mushrooms

Large handful of fresh spinach

3 garlic cloves skinned and chopped

2 large tomatoes chopped

1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast (It's marigold brand can be found in most health food shops) Optional

dash of lemon juice

dash of liquid aminos or soy sauce

1 teaspoon of thyme

salt and pepper

olive oil for cooking


Heat up your frying pan and add the garlic, tomatoes and mushrooms. Fry until mushrooms are almost cooked.
Press the excess water from your tofu using kitchen roll and then crumble in your tofu. You want to crumble it in quite large chunks as it will break up even more as it cooks.
Add the nutritional yeast, lemon, soy, thyme and roughly chopped spinach.
Cook on a medium heat for a further 4 to 5 minutes, carefully turning to ensure tofu is fully coated but doesn't break up to much. Season with salt and pepper.

This recipe is pretty adaptable. This is just how I like it, but it can be made with many different spices and ingredients - play around with it, try adding things you like or take away things that you don't.

Mexicano Burgers

Scrummy mexican inspired burgers with guacamole

Burgers

400-500g meat free mince (Realeat/ Linda Mcartney is brilliant and also vegan)

1 chopped onion

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon coriander (dried works but fresh tastes fab!)

1 table spoon olive oil

2 teaspoons of egg replacer powder

Guacamole

1 avocado

clove of garlic, pealed and minced

1 lime

salt

pepper

Lighty fry meat free mince for a few minutes until thawed and coated with oil. Place in a bowl and mix in all other ingredients well. Shape into 8 small sized burgers. Fry for a further 8-10 minutes.

To make guacamole - scrape out all flesh with a spoon and scoop into blender or food processor and add lime juice and garlic. Blend.

Serve on fresh burger buns with plenty of guacamole.

It's pizza night... pizza night!

How to Make Pizza Bases and Loads of Toppings

Pizza Dough

Makes two pizzas

A Note: You'll find pizza dough much easier to make if you have a bread maker with a 'dough' setting. This is how I make mine as pizza is the thing I make most frequently and it's much easier. Having said that you can make it without one, it just takes a little kneading. If you are making this with a bread maker - place water in pan first, then flour and then rest of ingredients and turn on correct setting.

7g sachet of Yeast

drizzle of Olive Oil

235ml Warm Water

1 heaped tablespoon of sugar

350g of plain flour

1 teaspoon of sea salt

extra flour for dusting tray

Take a large bowl and add all your dry ingredients. Give it a quick mix and then add your water little by little and mix up into a ball of dough. At this stage you may need to either add a little extra flour or water to get this.

Flour your work surface and turn out your dough - it's time to knead! You'll need to do this for around 10 minutes until it's firm but stretchy.

Take a clean bowl, around twice the size of your dough and lightly coat the inside with olive oil, then place your dough inside and make sure this gets nice and coated also. Cover with clingfilm or damp tea towel and put the whole thing somewhere warm for around an hour.

Now it should have inflated to almost twice the size. Give it a little poke and it'll deflate a bit. Turn it out onto a flour work surface and knead again for a few minutes. Now it's ready to be split in half and shaped into pizzas.

You can use whatever kind of tray you have handy, I usually use a rectangle. Make sure the tray doesn't have deep edges though as your pizza may come out soggy.

Lighty flour the tray, and with a rolling pin (or wine bottle if you don't own one) roll out the dough to the rough shape of your tray and your desired thickness.

Use with a suggested topping below or create your own!


Pizza Topping

1 jar of tomato pasta sauce

black olives

mushrooms

sliced tomatoes

Redwoods Cheating Meat (I usually use their Chorizo kind - but just leave off if you prefer)

Red Onion

Grated vegan cheese (Redwood's and Bute Island Foods melting kind work best - pizza is equally tasty without, just add more toppings)


Once put together place your pizza in a middle shelf of a pre heated oven. Cook at 180 degrees for around 12-15 minutes.


Pancakes


I won't pretend that these are healthy - but they are one of my fav ways to eat breakfast. They are big fluffly 'american' style pancakes - not the flat sugar and lemon ones we usually have here in the UK.
They can be topped with anything you like, berries, maple syrup, fruit..... even soy ice cream.
I like to make mine using silicon pancake rings. I found a package from a home discount shop that came with a bear head, star and heart for 69p! They were labeled as being for shaping eggs in the frying pan, but do a brilliant job on pancakes!
110g Plain Flour

1 or 2 heaped tablespoons sugar (depending on how sweet you like)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

230ml soy or rice milk (use vanilla or hazelnut if you have it)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon of vegan margarine (such as 'Pure' or sub for 1 teaspoon olive oil)

Mix all ingredients together well. Heat up frying pan with a little oil and cook using a small sized pan or pancake rings until golden on both sides. Serve with chosen toppings.

Crispy 'Chicken' & Coleslaw

A super 'fried chicken' recipe that's easy on the waistline

One tin of gluten 'mock meat' chicken style (can be brought at oriental food stores or you can make your own - see recipe in main meals)

small bowl of vanilla soy milk (can also use plain)

40g polenta meal (cornmeal)

20g finely grated parmesan or mozzarella style vegan cheese

drizzle of olive oil

teaspoon cayenne pepper

salt

pepper

sliced lemon

Coleslaw

50g red cabbage

50g white cabbage

1/2 red or white onion depending on taste

one pealed carrot

75g plain soy yogurt

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Salt & pepper

In a bowl mix together cornmeal, soy cheese and cayenne pepper. Take each piece of mock chicken and dip in soy milk and then in your cornmeal and cheese mixture so that it is well coated all over.

Heat up oil in a frying pan and cook your coated mock chicken for about 5 minutes, making sure to turn until the coating is crispy and each piece is heated through.

To make your coleslaw you want to slice all your vegetables very thinly. I usually used the chopping blade of my food processor for this but you could also use a cheese grater, slicer or chop by hand. Add the soy yogurt and vinegar and make sure all is well coated.

Serve with lemon juice squeezed all over!

Artichoke & Bean Crusty Bread Spread

This recipe is for a delicious spread that goes great on crusty bread

1 tin artichoke hearts

1 tin black beans

3 to 4 cloves of garlic skinned and crushed

drizzle of olive oil

sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper

fresh basil

Heat up oil in frying pan and add all ingredients. Cook for around 15 minutes on a very low heat. If you have a food processor wait for mix to cool a little and then process into a thick paste. If you don't have a food processor then mash well using a potato masher or a fork.

Spread liberally on some fresh crusty bread.

Nice and simple.

Super Sushi!

Sushi isn't always made with fish you know....

The supplies for this recipe can be found in most good asian grocery shops, and recently I've noticed in some branches of Waitrose and Tesco.

200g Sushi Rice

220ml water

30ml rice vinegar

30g sugar

1 heaped teaspoon salt

Packet of nori sheets

sliced avacado, cucumber, carrot, asparagus, spring onions, tomato (whichever you like)

Vegan mayo

Wasabi

Follow any instructions on rice packet for rinsing. Add sushi rice and water to a saucepan and place lid on and make sure it's secure. Bring to the boil and then reduce and simmer for around 7 minutes. Don't lift the lid as it's important to keep in all the steam. Switch off the heat and leave to cook in steam for a further 7 minutes.

In a small bowl mix the rice vinegar, sugar and salt until mostly disolved. Once rice is ready poor this mixture in with the rice and mix well. Transfer to a cool bowl and fan rice while mixing carefully until cool.

Cut a sheet of nori in half and cover with a thin coating of rice but leave a thin strip uncovered at one end. Place any combination of chosen fillings in a strip in the middle of rice covered area. Use either the mayo or wasabi or a mixture of the two. Dampen the strip of nori left uncovered and roll. This is made a lot easier with the help of a sushi rolling mat which can be brought for under £1.

Variations - Crispy fried tofu makes a great filling. I love to make mine with Cauldron's marinated tofu pieces (sold in most big supermarkets)

Crostini Soup


To get the ball rolling - here's a great recipe that features on my site (they'll be more over the next few days!)

This winter greens soup is fabulous served with sea salt & olive oil crostini (available in supermarkets in salad section).



5 or 6 large savoy cabbage leaves

3 medium sized potatoes cubed

5 pak choi leaves

3 leeks chopped

1 chopped onion

sprinkle of garlic powder

pinch of rosemary

sprinkle of dill

dash of olive oil

Lemon juice

vegan vegetable stock (I use Marigold Vegan Bullion)

Chop cabbage, leeks, potatoes and pak choi. Place in a large saucepan and bring to the boil.

Once potatoes are soft drain and retain the water used to cook. In your now empty saucepan heat your olive oil and sauté your onion coated in rosemary for around 5 minutes.

Add around 1/2 a pint of the water you saved and mix in about 2 heaped tablespoons of your vegetable stock. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add vegetables to stock and heat through. If you have a hand blender then carefully blend all of the ingredients together. Add further water if needed to reach desired consitancy.

Serve topped with lemon juice, crostini and dill.

Brand New!

Hi! Welcome to my blog :)
I'm a West Midlands (UK) based vegan who's decided to share my recipes and vegan adventures with you. Hope you enjoy!