Monday, 25 June 2012

800 miles away

I had some time off from London last week. I left behind my Blackberry, laptop, Twitter feed and everything else, only bringing my camera along for the ride.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Get the coffee on...

In case you didn't see it, here's a really interesting Guardian article by Michael Hanlon that my friends are sharing across Facebook this weekend.

Fake meat: is science fiction on the verge of becoming fact?

I don't agree with a lot of what is discussed, but it's great that it's coming to a place of discussion. Even if it is found in the 'Science' section of the Guardian and not in the 'Food'. Hmmm.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Every cloud has a porridge lining

The only good thing about the persistent rain is my never-ending supply of porridge I stored away towards the end of winter. I was never a big porridge fan until I started having it with just water. REVELATION.

Back in April I discovered Sainsbury's Express Porridge with Golden Syrup, which is vegan and works out at around 15p a sachet. Instead of adding soya milk I just add water as the oats and sugar are already pretty rich. Then just top with a handful of your favourite fruit.

If you're suffering from breakfast-time-smugness then you could also add walnuts, sunflower seeds, a sprinkling of nutmeg and cinnamon- whatever takes your fancy. You could even try and arrange it in a rather neurotic way as seen below, and then, you know, end up being really, really late for work.

The Vegan Brunch Holy Trinity

Three is the magic number...

If you're not feeling a fry-up or the fruit bowl is looking a little scarce, these little Antipasti-style dishes wrapped in tortillas are the perfect way to see in a Saturday morning. Each of these dishes also happens to be chock-a-block full of goodness to send you on your way if you're feeling the effects of the nigh before. Your plate will be full of protein from the chickpeas and mushrooms and iron from the spinach. Not to mention the potassium in the avocado will help fight fatigue, depression, and work as an all-round nutrient booster. Basically it's a no-brainer.

For this time around I just fried mushrooms and garlic and added spinach at the end. Chopped tomato, and avocado, added salt, pepper and olive oil. After a delve through the fridge I found a pack of M&S chickpea and sweet potato salad, which I added a whole tin of chickpeas to, so it would go a little further when shared.

You could add salad or cucumber slices- or anything else you have vying for attention in the fridge. But most importantly, grab the hummus and maybe some limes, and find that sun!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Vegan Summer Raindance Rolls

Vegan Summer Raindance Rolls 

You've heard of a raindance yes? Well this is the opposite. I've decided to start cooking the most summer-synonymous dishes I can think of, hoping that big ball of burning gas in the sky will take note. 

Summer rolls are perfect for adding something different to a run-of-the-mill-midweek stir fry. They are similar to their less-jolly Spring roll cousin, but with a thinner wrapping that is also normally vegan. They don't need to be fried, instead serve at room temperature or slighlty warm, with chilli sauce or a peanut butter/hoisin sauce. I chose to keep mine simple with just a salad and leftover rice for the perfect Raindance lunch. 

(Makes enough for 10- which is roughly how many pancake wraps there should be in a single pack)
One pack of Blue Dragon rice flour pancakes
Handful of red cabbage, cut as thin as possible (julienned if possible, or just do it yourself)
Handful of julienned greens
One large carrot, julienned
Two handfuls of bean sprouts
One onion, cubed 
Soy sauce
Sweet chilli sauce for dipping

Prepare your vegetables first- cooking so they reduce a little and will be soft enough to easily use in the pancake rolls. Then drain away any extra liquid- you don't want this going into the wraps as they won't fold as easily.
One at a time, soak the rice pancake in a bowl of hot water for 15 seconds. Carefully remove and place on  a wet tea towel.  Using the corners of the tea towel, blot the pancake dry until it becomes sticky. This will make it easier to keep in place when folding up.
Take a tablespoon of stir fry mixture and place in the centre of the roll, in the same roll shape as seen above. Then fold both top and bottom ends into the middle of the wrap, take the right hand side of the wrap and fold over the mixture, then roll the whole thing towards the left hand side, making sure the pancake is tightly wrapped at either end. Leave on a plate while you do the rest.

A quick scan across Pinterest and other vegan blogs makes me so excited to try these out again- you could add coriander before putting any mixture on the pancake to give it a pretty translucent effect when wrapped up, tofu, alfafa sprouts, or keep the whole thing raw with radishes and magoes! The world is your summer roll.

Cherries are the bomb

Cherries are in season! They are the bombbb. Have a mug-full for elevenses, stick a hand-full in with museli or go the whole hog with a bowl-full.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Vegan Carrot Cake

Vegan Carrot Cake 

The sign that this is a great carrot cake? My Mum has adopted the recipe into her baking repertoire (she's Queen of Puddings in my fam) and no-one can tell it's vegan. I've made this cake a few times now, and it's perfect for wrapping a few slices up and bringing to your friend's house for a cuppa, or even to keep on stand-by at home; it will last in the fridge for about a week. 

This is the first bit of vegan baking I've done that's actually worked out- so it would be ideal for anyone new to Veganism, also because there's no better way to tell your best friends you've decided to try out a new way of eating than by bringing a cake along that exemplifies it; Surprise! I'm a vegan! Now have some cake....

The recipe I used is from the Ethical Chef. However I would also add that I've cooked this twice now and needed much longer in two different ovens- more like 40 minutes to an hour. The only other thing I would mention is that I've tried out a few different vegan margarines for making butter icing with, and Vitalite is by far the best- if you're looking for that American cup-cake style  icing texture, just start with the mixed-in margarine and sieved icing sugar, and carry on adding more icing sugar until it goes stiff.

Funnily enough I've found this cake is perfect fuel for marathon catch-up with best friends. Liz and I managed to devour half of one recently after her trip back from Japan. Hellllooo sugar high!