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French Toast

28 May

Those 2-for-deals are almost always welcomed, unless it’s bread. It’s kinda hard for two girls to finish two loaves of bread in a week, and I don’t particularly enjoy freezing it as I don’t own a toaster, and microwaved bread doesn’t remain soft once it’s cooled down! 😦 So I made some french toast this morning, while reminiscing of the AMAZING OH MY HEAVENS Cinnamon French Toast from Pick Me Up (as above) while I was in Chicago two autumns before. While Monk Bodhi Dharma does an equally tasty version with caramalised banana or poached pear with a pistachio cream cheese (can be made GF), it does require a significant amount of resources for one to obtain it!

Following both Usually Vegan and Vegan Dad‘s French Toast recipes, I mixed up a 9cm square of tofu, 1 cup of non-diary milk, 3 tbs agave syrup, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tbs oil, bit of salt and lots of cinnamon in the food processor. I made the mistake of dipping too many slices of bread at a go, resulting in soggy bread that took forever to cook as my pan could only fry 3 halves at a time. Halving the slices was a good idea, as it was a lot easier to flip. The first slice resembled scrambled tofu as my pan was too hot and I waited too long before flipping, hoping to flip when it one side resembled toast (like cooking pancakes). I found it easier if I kept the heat to the lowest, flipped it after about a minute when it had JUST begun to brown. It didn’t stick, and then flipped it back to brown after the second side had just started to firm up. This made 7 slices of French Toast.

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Baked Portobello and Cheeze Sammich

28 May

I recalled making Oven Roasted Portobello Sammiches two days after the amazing Mac N’ Cheeze as I had a lot of leftover cheeze sauce. It did not disappoint. The combination of portobello, Cheezely, spinach, rocket and cheeze sauce was perfect.

All I did was marinate the mushrooms in some light and dark soy sauce, dried oregano and basil (perhaps thyme too?), garlic, black pepper, and olive oil, thinned out with a bit of water. Baked at 200C for 15 minutes, top with Cheezely, and back in the oven till it melted. Juicy mushrooms :9

Sustainability Day Cake Stall

24 May

Our Sustainability Day last Wednesday on campus was a great success! There were lots of people looking, trying, buying and learning! It was a disappointment that there were NO vegan-related stalls as it is the easiest and most efficient way to treat the environment better; it far outweighs buying greener products, or buying re-fashioned clothes! This was our TAFE conventional + organic + vegan + GF cake stall, one of three on that day.

My vegan contributions that day included this chocolate cake with chocolate ganache and oatmeal raisin cookies. Steph made coconut jam slices while Jo U made the cutest chocolate cupcakes from VCTOTW in rose-printed muffin liners!!! The Eating Up The World booklets that she included was picked up by some girls, which was amazing! It made me almost forget about the annoying people who came up to me and said “I don’t care about being vegan!” when I told them what vegan options were available. Yeah, there needs to be some serious animal ethics education here.

Prue also made a vegan raw fudge ball – dates, pistachio, rosewater and cashews. So rich! I love pistachios, but never use them in baking/cooking.

We also had a textile/craft stall of handmade goodies – screenprinted totes, notebooks, tea towels, brooches, etc. I sold one cute matryoshka brooch! The girl in the middle (sorry I forgot to ask for your name) made raw balls and raw granola, full of sprouted and activated and dehydrated awesome things like seeds, buckwheat, etc. Again, no money. 😦

Talented Jess manning the succulents stall in saucers and mugs from op-shops all around. (She also made killer caramel slices that garnered her a returning customer!!) It was such a delightful stall! And we made quite a bit of money which will fund our graduate show (because we won’t be getting much from the uni because they do not support our private graduate showcase).

Chocolate Ganache
(adapted from a PPK)

Bring 2/3 cup soy milk to a boil, then lower heat and stir in 8oz semi-sweet chocolate chips (half a block of chocolate) and a tablespoon of maple syrup. Remove from heat and mix until smooth. Pour over cake, leave to cool until harden.

Las Vegan Brunch

23 May

Definitely one of those run-a-million-errands-and-eat-brunch-too Sundays; get petrol, eat brunch, buy bread and milo (forgot the juice), buy coffee beans and return library books. And squeeze in a stomachache while we’re at it >.< It was mostly agony from activity 2 onwards. But am glad that we managed to visit Las Vegan on its first Sunday opening, and it was buzzing! I am so glad that those odd operating hours are over! I haven't been there in a while for no more than chai and cake, so was nice to enjoy some savouries.

On the Specials Board today was 2 types of Pancakes – Sour Cherry or TempehCon. Smoky tempeh bacon! It was really tasty but such a pity with only a few teeny slices! Sandwiched between each pancake was maple syrup, which was such a lovely balance between sweet and savoury. I have Vegan Brunch, so will have to make this again, but not till I find some Liquid Smoke…

Ger had the schnitzel with chips. Love the hand cut chips! The deep-fried crumbed mock meat was teeny and a tad stodgy with the oil (perhaps not hot enough?) but I loved the texture and its junk food nature that I hardly ever get to eat!

My schoolmate Maddie was working there so was nice to see the place all happy and people nomming on those amazing fried rice balls.

Where’s The Beef gave a positive review on their recent visit (though our salad was certainly not as generous!) and Easy As Vegan Pie‘s photos reveal saucy burgers are to be had. I still adore those rice balls.

Las Vegan Bakery
http://www.lasvegan.com.au/
22 Smith Street, Collingwood
Hours: Sun, Tues & Wed 11 – 3pm, Thurs – Fri 11 – 3pm, 5.30 – 9.30pm, Sat 9.30 – 3.30pm, 5.30 – 9.30pm

Chocolate and Ginger are BFFs

17 May

YES! Bake Sale! And you should come! Because I’ll be the manning the stall (worrying about my unfinished screen print homework) at the Atrium, and all proceeds go towards our Diploma graduation show in November. It’s our Sustainability Festival and Conference Day; there will be talks, workshops, stalls, etc. so will be exciting if you’re interested in all things green, bicycles, craft, DIY, ethical stuff, etc. Further details can be obtained here.

Not convinced?

There will be vegan chocolate cake (minus the vanilla soy ice-cream).

Not just a slice, but an entire cake! (I made two cakes just now, so you know there WILL be a complete cake, not one with one slice missing)

It’s this Wednesday at RMIT Brunswick (accessible via Tram 19, alight at Union Street, or Jewell station on the Upfield line).

**

While I’m on a baking roll, I FINALLY made those gingerbread man alligators that I have been requested to do so a month ago! I tried to make a ginger lemon cake last time and it failed miserably (molasses NOT = blackstrap molasses). This however, was beautiful. It was pretty easy to put together, chilled the dough as I made dinner, then rolled it out after doing the dishes. It didn’t take very long to bake these either; 10 minutes for the little ones for a softer center, and about 15 for the larger ones. Think they would have benefited from an extra 2 minutes to crisp the edges more. Apparently, I have no icing skills.

Vegan Chocolate Cake
(adpated via instructables)
1/2 c wholemeal flour
3/4 c plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/3 c cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c sugar
1/3 c olive oil (or applesauce + oil mixture)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 c warm water
chocolate chips – optional

Preheat oven to 180C, line an 8″ round cake pan with greaseproof paper.
Mix dry ingredients (first 5) in a bowl. Add vinegar in olive oil and set aside. In a large bowl, mix sugar and liquids with a spatula. Stir and add dry ingredients slowly, leaving no big lumps. Stir in chocolate chips or nuts if you want! Bake for 25 minutes. Cake tastes best the next day.

Gingerbread Men
(adapted via bakingbites.com)

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp mixed spice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup agave
1/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 180C, and line two trays with silicon sheet or greaseproof paper.
Mix dry in a bowl, then beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the liquids, then stir in the dry to form a smooth dough log.
Leave to chill in the fridge for 2-3 hours, roll out in 1/2cm thickness and use your fancy cookie cutters (those bunnies were 74cents per pack from Spotlight’s post-Easter sale last year). Bake for 9-15min, depending on size and chewiness.

Oh I love you Oskar Mini.

3 May

I have been on an Italian kick last week, and I blame it on the amazing spinach and cashew “ricotta” cannelloni that Danni made for us last week. It wasn’t even that hard to make, (save for useless weak blenders!) this will be a cinch to make now that I am in possession of an Oskar Mini. Goodbye crap blenders!

First up, Vegan Yum Yum’s Mac and Cheese. The recipe called for boiling the potatoes and carrot in a saucepan, but microwaving on high for 5-6 minutes does the job faster! I also skipped the baking towards the end as I was hungry and did not want to deal with more washing. So tasty and easy, and doesn’t thicken up quickly like the other recipes that use a heap of nutritional yeast and flour.

Two nights later, I made VYY’s Tomato Basil Cream Pasta, using a tin of tomatoes as I didn’t have any fresh ones. Also with the food processor (remember to put on the lid in the chute; I now have some pasta sauce on my ceiling), this was super fast. I might soak the cashews first next time as the sauce wasn’t super smooth. I also sauteed some marinated tempeh (soy sauce, dark soy sauce, white pepper and sesame oil) before adding the sauce in. Whole wheat spaghetti has so much more texture than the white ones; I enjoyed the chewiness and the fact that it is almost impossible to over cook it – perfect.

Roasted some pumpkin, potatoes, brussel sprouts and an onion on the first night, then had leftovers over a salad on the second with a balsamic dressing.

DESSERT! Apple Strudel/Turnovers – thinly slice two apples, marinate in some cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, 3 tbs sugar and some lemon juice, then wrap it in thawed puff pastry. This one is from her book! I used two sheets of pastry, so had enough desserts for two nights, complete with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream each.

There have been a bout of cheeze posts lately on VegMel, with the latest being Vege Quiche. Sounds like a good plan for dinner tonight.

Mac N Cheeze
(from Vegan Yum Yum)

Macaroni for 4

1 Cup Peeled, Finely Chopped Potatoes
1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Carrots

1/3 Cup Raw Cashews
1 Tbs Miso (I used red)
1 Tbs Tahini
1 Tbs Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard
1/3 Cup Nuttelex Margarine
1/3 Cup Nutritional Yeast
1 tsp Salt
Black Pepper to taste
1/4 cup water

Boil macaroni in a pot of salted water.

Cube potatoes and carrots and microwave on high in an air-tight container with vent with a bit of water, until soft. Takes about 6 minutes.

In the food processor, blend cashews, miso, tahini, lemon juice, mustard, Nuttelex, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper with 1/4 cup water. Then the softened potatoes and carrots, until sauce is smooth and creamy.

Serve this over cooked and drained macaroni.

Tomato Basil Cream Pasta
(from Vegan Yum Yum)

Whole Wheat Spaghetti for 3

1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1/3 Cup Raw Cashews
1 Tbs Tomato Paste
1/4 cup water

2 Tbs Olive Oil
2-4 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 tsp Salt
1-2 tsp Freshly Cracked, Coarse Black Pepper
1 Large Handful Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped

Marinated Tempeh

1/2 packet of tempeh
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs dark soy sauce
1 tbs sesame oil
2 tbs water
some ground white pepper

Marinate chopped (or broken up by hand) tempeh and set aside for 15 minutes.

Boil pasta in a pot of salted water.

Blend tomatoes, cashews, tomato paste and water until smooth.

Saute tempeh in some olive oil, until nicely browned, then garlic. Add blended sauce in and simmer for about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. I thinned mine out with some water. Salt to taste. Add cooked and drained pasta in, then season with black pepper and chopped basil.

One sort of relaxing Saturday arvo

1 May

Yucks March and April have gone by so much faster than I had anticipated, and the food that I have cooked and ate have gone by unnoticed. Not that it really matters, but highlights were definitely in the form of chocolate cake, pancakes and tempeh that I all make on constant rotation. We decided that today was the day to relax for a bit before strapping ourselves down on the study chairs, and boy how lovely was the sun for a nice walk about! Continue reading