Sunday, 7 October 2012

Soup Sunday

Autumn is by far my favourite season, mainly because of the crunchy leaves but that's something for another time. I thought I'd make something for those cold nights that is just super filling, with another favourite of mine... mushrooms! I cannot get enough of them, it's probably the only thing in my diet that is always the same, every other day mushrooms must be consumed. I don't care how it's done, pasta, soup, risotta, just as long as I get my fix.  

Some may not call this soup because i didn't blitz it or anything, but it's still got the liquid consistency so to me it's soup. If anything i just feel like a child not having to chew on my food, but whatever floats your boat. Grab your finest crusty bread and you're good to go. 

Ready in just 15 minutes and everything for this you'll always have to hand anyway, well at least I always do. Mushrooms, soy milk, vegetable stock and flour to thicken it up. Oh and pine nuts... of course. 

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Iron Chef Challenge #1

Beetroot. I do not like it. (I probably am the most pickiest vegan!) But I only know it as going in salads and being covered in vinegar, and the purple just put me off I guess. Food shouldn't be purple unless its a cake! I remember seeing something about a beetroot risotto somewhere on the internet a few months ago though and well it sounded like the easiest thing ever. For some strange reason I'd actually picked up beetroot on the weekly shop, purely because I was intrigued to see if I still hated it and it was just a happy coincidence it was the secret ingredient for this weeks Iron Chef Challenge.
Alright alright, i know!I got it pre-done in a box, it's my own fault it was soaked in vinegar and whatever else you want to rub in my face! Plus the annoying fact I was stupid enough to let it stain my hands, although I suppose that didn't matter since I went on to tie dye some sheets purple after this. 

I must admit it was pretty exciting mixing the beetroot, garlic and onions in and for the rice to take on this colour. Not going to lie, I felt like I was about to eat princess food...

To avoid the risotto breaking or getting too dry i added 4 tablespoons of soya cream and 4 tablespoons of Tofutti cream cheese. There was still that slight hint of vinegar but it went just right! This was also ready in 20 minutes, unlike the 1 hour or so it usually takes to do risotto. 

Let them eat cake!

Chocolate cake seems to be everyone's favourite, and well as much as I too enjoy my fair share of it, I thought instead i'd make a classic that everyone seems to enjoy also. Whenever I've asked people about cake, I can assure you, they will think very highly of Lemon Drizzle cake. Before today it's actually one that I've never tried, I think I was a little scared of well.. the whole lemon thing. I'm not too sure what i have against the little yellow things but I had to stop being silly now and just bake the damn cake.
It was also most difficult to find a recipe for this, I ended up with 'Nigella Lawson's Perfect Every Time Lemon Drizzle Cake'. Well I do love Nigella! The recipe goes as follows...

Lemon-Syrup Loaf Cake (45 minutes cooking time)
125g unsalted butter
175g caster sugar
2 large eggs
zest of 1 lemon
175g self raising flour
pinch of salt
4 tablespoons milk

The most simple recipe I've come across in a while. I ignored the whole "Cream together butter and sugar first" because I cannot enjoy baking if i'm following what someone else is telling me to do and I never want my cake to taste just like theirs probably does anyway. So it's just a good old 'dry ingredients in one bowl, wet in the other, then mix it all together' My recipe takes 35 minutes and goes like this...

125g Soya Margarine
170g granulated sugar
2 Teaspoons Egg replacer (w/1 tablespoon water)
180g Self raising flour
Half a cup Soya milk
Zest of 1 Lemon
Juice of 1 Lemon

It didn't seem right putting all of the loveliness into a bread tin like Nigella's recipe tells me to, but I do think next time I try this i'll opt for the loaf as the finish appears to be a lot cleaner with that.

For the glaze it's 150g Icing Sugar and the juice of 1 lemon.
It came out a whole lot better than I thought it would, extremely light and the lemon is very subtle. 

Friday, 5 October 2012

Mix and Match

Friday is always food shop day, and I'd already had in mind what i wanted for dinner. It was going to be a pesto risotto. So happily walking around Tesco, come to the aisle with all the glorious different types of pesto (seriously you wouldn't believe how many different types there are). The first i pick up it has milk in, a little peeved off but hey ho, I'm sure the next one will be fine. Five different brands later and they are swimming in milk or egg and some even had fish in. After checking 12 of them i was in a fit of rage, probably because i have a very short fuse but it meant i had to change the whole dish i wanted to cook. I mean yes i could have made the pesto myself but... well i don't have a good reason, but it's Friday, I don't want to spend the whole evening in the kitchen especially with a damn cold.
So i search high and low for something of similar nature, mainly something green but there is nothing at all. I already had some gnocchi, courgettes, soy cream and pine nuts in the trolley (amongst other goods) so i thought of what could work with it...

Yes...Green Thai curry paste. Now you're thinking, she must be mad, curry paste with pasta?! Who would ever do that!
I'm a bit funny when it comes to doing things right, I'll never follow a recipe how it is supposed to and I'll make it up all on the spot. But I believe when one ingredient says it has to be in the form of one thing, I must challenge it to be something more.
{I try to put pine nuts into anything I cook right now as well, they're just so moreish!} 

I adore cooking with gnocchi because it's so quick and easy, you really cannot go wrong with it, and also it tastes great with literally anything. I used 3 heaped teaspoons on the curry paste and added about half a cup of soy cream as I'm not a massive fan of food that burns my tongue off. 
And there we have it, ready in 6 minutes! 

Tuesday, 2 October 2012


I've always found being vegan fairly easy, but the worst part I have found to be is eating out. Now I'm not the sort of girl who enjoys a small salad, I don't do it at home and i refuse to settle for it whilst out and about. However, whilst I was in Leicester yesterday to visit a friend she'd pointed out a sign saying 'Veg Out' the afternoon before so we decide to look at the menu and planned to come the next day. Now this restaurant said it was fully vegetarian, but even then it doesn't mean it's safe for vegans. To my surprise though it was, I was completely spoiled for choice when we sat down browsing the menu. I've never been a fussy eater and I always make quick decisions but everything looked so good. The place is 'Mirch Masala', you can find it on Market Street in Leicester, although after looking online it seems they have them dotted across the UK. After a good fifteen minutes i decided to have the fal-a-fel (as it was written on the menu), this was in the Indian meals section. The place does Indian, Italian, Indo-Chinese and Mexican, obviously Indian having the most choice for vegans. I also ordered the Bhajia Platter and Twister fries (hey, i haven't had them in years, ok?)
I also apologise for the quality of the photos, they were taken on my iPod.
The fal-a-fel was by far, THE best falfel i've had and let me tell you i've had a lot of falfel in my time. I almost didn't want to order it since I eat so much of the stuff. It came in pitta bread with salad and chutneys, I didn't manage to get the name of the green chutney but it was lovely, slightly sweet but not too much and it also went perfect with the bhajia's, the white one was coconut and as i'm allergic I just passed them to everyone else. 

The Bhajia Platter, potato, onion, aubergine and green chilli (although I'm not a big chilli fan) fritters. I've also found with Indian food that I can never get the full flavour of the food as overwhelming spices are put with the dishes, but these were terrific. The outside was fluffy with a slight crunch and the inside was slighty mushy but not in that gross sort of way, and i could taste everything without my mouth feeling like it was on fire. Side note: do not give me spicy food if you want to live...
Even the green chilli fritter wasn't hot nor spicy which was a shock. I did share this around with the other girls I was with though, i'm not all that greedy!
Unfortunately I could not handle dessert, but I enjoyed the little message that was on the menu. There wasn't a lot of choice for dessert however, apart from a couple of muffins and traditional Indian sweets but that's better than the usual nothing I tend to come across!
Mirch Masala definitely get a 5 out of 5, I look forward to going there again.