Wednesday 30 November 2016

Vegan MoFo 2016 - reflections and quicklinks

So that's it!  Vegan MoFo is over for another year.  I have enjoyed cooking and sharing lots of good vegan food.  Having said that, my life doesn't make this pace of blogging easy.  This is my 27th Vegan MoFo post and I am glad to slowing down to my usual pace.  As in past Vegan Mofos, I am finishing with a reflection on Vegan MoFo and a few random photos.

The Temple of Doom sandwich from Smith and Deli. 
Vegan turkey, cheese, cabbage, corn and jalapeno in a sandwich. 
A bit spicy for me but good.  I shared it with E.
Firstly I didn't like the idea of daily prompts last year but I really liked the weekly themes this year.  They gave me plenty of space for ideas and lots of inspiration.  I had many more ideas than I could blog but I did keep up with frequent posting by preparing ahead of Vegan MoFo.  Sadly this did not help me catch up with reading other blogs and I found myself feeling rushed by the almost daily posting,  Life is just too busy.  Especially when I managed to delete three posts and have to rewrite them.

Mac and cheese at Melbourne Vegan Eats Brew and Food Fest
I did not manage one post on eating out during Vegan MoFo.  Even though I did have some excellent meals out.  We went to the Melbourne Vegan Eats Brew and Food Fest.  It was small but still overwhelming with too much choice.  E got the mac and cheese which was really good.  I had a lovely smoked tempeh burger but wished I had chicken salad in a cone from Rays or the carrot hotdog in the charcoal black bun.  And we loved the Half Pint sausage rolls.  I also enjoyed meals at Juanitas, True North and Smith and Deli, all of which have some great vegan food.

Kat's Breakfast from True North.  I asked for no eggs or bacon and had buttermilk biscuits, polenta grits, red pepper jelly,  pickled radishes and vegan chorizo.  I forgot to ask if it was vegan but I know I think the waitress said it could be made vegan.  It was delicious but I wished it came on a plate.
Actually the Ultimate Bean Stack that I had at Juanita's had dairy cheese in it.  I would have loved to have eat it with the vegan cheese but it was not available when I ordered.  Which brings me back to life as a vegetarian.  November marks 25 years living as a vegetarian.  Over that time vegetarians have become far more accepted and vegans seem to now be the odd ones out.

While I do not plan to become vegan any time soon, I am happy to incorporate more and more vegan food into my diet.  Aquafaba has made this even easier and is no doubt one of the reasons I haven't had eggs in the house for months.  We only have soy milk in the house but still have dairy cheese and yoghurt.  I have found lots of vegan cheese I love but am yet to find a vegan yoghurt to embrace.  Caeli has suggested Miyoko's yoghurt and I plan to try it.

I have been fortunate to be loaned a few vegan cookbooks by Faye.  Sadly I have been too busy with Vegan MoFo to spend much time reading them.  And Vegan MoFo always leaves me with lots of recipes to inspire me.   Here are a few quicklinks:

Aloo Tikka Bagel - Allotment to Kitchen
Speculoos Truffles and Cinnamon Stars - Seitan is My Motor
Mung bean and smoked aubergine side salad - Flicking the Vs
Roasted Brussels, Sprouts Chickpeas and Rice - Rock Your Vegan Socks
Jackfruit tacos with charred corn, cabbage and lime cream - Little Vegan Bear
Thanksgiving blossoms - Vegan Dollhouse
Crispy Vietnamese Crepes - Olives for Dinner
Roasted Garlic Bread - Walks, Talks and Eats
Cherry Bakewells - Walks Talks and Eats
Gingerbread Cookies - My Darling Vegan
Christmas Tree Cheese Platter - Veggies Save the Day
Easy Deviled Potatoes - Brand New Vegan
Vegan Tuna Noodle Casserole - Neat and Nutritious
Vegan Cheesemaking Guide - Vegan Nom Noms
Cooking Vegan MoFo recipes - Herbivore's Heaven

The one recipe I have made from Faye's cookbooks are the Gingerbread People from Isa's Vegan Holidays Cookbook.  They were nice but not as nice as my favourite gingerbread recipe.  Now that Christmas is near, Sylvia wants to make gingerbread for presents so I might have opportunities to try more vegan gingerbread.  Meanwhile I am embarked on making gingerbread houses for a raffle.  So, as always in my blog, I have much more to say than I have time for.  And you have probably read enough.  So I will now save my energies for some decorating tomorrow.

This post is part of the Vegan Month of Food (Vegan MoFo) in November 2016.  Go to my Vegan MoFo list for more of my 2016 Vegan MoFo posts. 

Week 5's theme is Holidays. 

Tuesday 29 November 2016

Gow Gee Hummus Cups and Lentil Celery Salad

Recently I linked to some gow gee cups that I had made when Sylvia was little.  We started to talk about doing them again with hummus and vegies.  We had them for dinner but it would be a fun and easy finger food for entertaining.  We ate the gow gee cups with a simple but satisfying lentil celery salad.  It was a good easy meal after a busy day of work, the dentist and Christmas shopping.

I really like the gow gee cups because they are just a matter of spraying round gow gee wrappers and putting them into a mini muffin dish.  They are then baked until browned around the edges.  This makes them crisp enough to put in whatever you like.  And they look like little flowers.

We put in some hummus and vegies,  I thought that the cherry tomatoes reminded me of Rudoph the Red Nose Reindeer.  Perhaps a couple of olive eyes and some pretzel antlers would make them really Christmassy.  Or you could add some holly leaves to the tomato by cutting them out of cucumber or green capsicum.  (Not that this would be practical if you were making a lot.)  The cucumber and carrot sticks were what we had.  Again, if you want a festive look you could do green and red capsicum.

The hummus didn't make the cups soggy immediately so I think they could be made perhaps an hour or so ahead of time but I don't know how much longer.  It is something I might experiment with when I have time.

I had hoped that Sylvia might like these but she preferred the cups separate from the vegies and hummus.  At least she ate more than she did of the salad.  Even though she was the one who inspired it.

Sylvia loves to tidy her corner of the loungeroom.  She has seconded a coffee table and recently made it look really neat.  Unfortunately around the edges was the mess of everything that she had thrown off it.  Among the papers I found an old Vegetarian Times magazine with this recipe.  I changed the vegies a bit and am sure other vegies such as tomato or other beans would work well too.  It was quite sharply flavoured the first night but less so the next.

More festive entertaining finger food from Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Cashew cheese stuffed dates (gf, v)
Pesto pita Christmas trees
Polenta quinoa sticks with rhubarb sauce (gf, v)
Sausage rolls (v)
Sesame hummus bites (gf, v) 
Sushi with sticky walnuts and edamame (gf, v)
Tofu nut balls (v) 

Lentil Celery Salad
adapted from Vegetarian Times
serves 4

400g tin lentils, rinsed and drained
3 celery stalks, sliced
kernels of 1 cob corn
1 bunch asparagus, chopped small and lightly cooked
1 spring onion, thinly sliced

3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 small garlic clove crushed
2 tsp seeded mustard
seasoning - pinch salt and grind of black pepper

Place all salad ingredients into a medium bowl.  Either whisk the marinade ingredients or shake together in a jar (with the lid on).  Mix into salad and serve.  Can be kept overnight but the flavours mellow.

Gow Gee Hummus Cups
serves 2-3

12 round gow gee wrappers
oil spray
12 heaped tsp hummus
carrot, cucumber and cherry tomatoes

Lightly spray each gow gee wrapper with oil.  Place oil side up over a hole in a mini muffin tin and push in, making a few folds so it neatly sits in the hole and the folds make it look a little like a flower.  Repeat with remaining wrappers.  Bake for 10-15 minutes at 200 C.  Cool.  Put a heaped teaspoon of hummus in each cup.  Cut cherry tomatoes in half and press into some of the cups.  Cut the carrot and cucumber into matchsticks and plant in the remaining gow gee cups.

NOTES: I bought my gee gaw wrappers from the supermarket and they were vegan.  If you want them vegan and gluten free you could try this recipe. A couple of people have commented on never having heard of "gee gaw" wrappers - I checked again online and on the packet and it seems it is "gow gee" wrappers.  Oops!  Have edited the post.  But I sort of like the word gee gaw (which actually means trinket or bauble).

On the Stereo:
The Best Aussie Christmas

This post is part of the Vegan Month of Food (Vegan MoFo) in November 2016.  Go to my Vegan MoFo list for more of my 2016 Vegan MoFo posts. 

Week 5's theme is Holidays.  Today the prompt is Holiday Bake Day.  Nut roast has to be one of my favourite holiday bakes.

Monday 28 November 2016

Welsh nutroast with laverbread, leeks and cheese (vegan)

Back in April, I was sent a tin of laverbread, a Welsh seaweed, by the lovely Shaheen from Allotment 2 Kitchen.  It sat on my kitchen bench for many months staring at me accusingly as I neglected to try it.  I knew I would use it before the use-by date of 2018.  I waited until the right recipe and the right moment came by.  Finally I realised I must bake it into one of my very favourite foods: nut roast.

I had been curious about laverbread for ages after seeing Shaheen feature it on her blog over the years that we have been blogging pals.  When she sent me a tin, I was so excited.  And nervous.  It sounded odd.  And I avoided putting it in a few meals because I was worried how Sylvia or other people wold react.  When I finally opened it, I was relieved it did not have a strong fishy smell.  It looks pretty slimy but tastes far milder than I expected but it is quite savoury and replaced some of the salt in the recipe.  I quite liked the taste but in my head, it still seems strange.

Given that I have only found laverbread on Shaheen's blog, I assume it is not widely known.  Laverbread is seaweed that has been boiled down and minced into what Wikipedia describes as a "gelatinous paste".  E laughed at the blurb on the box saying that Laverbread is traditionally eaten with "fried cockles, bacon, mushrooms and eggs".  He knows this is just so unlike the meals we eat.  Thank goodness I have read Shaheen's glowing praise or I might never have gone near the stuff!

The flavours of the nut roast are inspired by Welsh Rarebit and Shaheen's scones.  Leek, mustard and cheese are added to a fairly plain nut roast that is seasoned by both laverbread and vegemite.  (I just know that Shaheen and many of her Welsh compatriots would use marmite but I am Australian and only have vegemite in my kitchen.)

When Shaheen sent me the laverbread, she also sent me an amazing complex dragon biscuit cutter.  I have been wondering how to use it.  Possibly there could be some gingerbread dragons in my life.  Then when I was planning the nut roast it hit me that a puff pastry dragon on top would be perfect.  I love nut roasts but they are not the bonniest of meals.  Now I am wondering about trying to put some Christmas cut outs of holly on my favourite Christmas nut roast.

I had visions of making a full roast dinner.  Nut roasts are so delicious with roast vegies and gravy.  Alas I didn't have time.  I was happy to find time to make the nut roast.  It was enough to have some leftover salad and make a coleslaw.  Nut roasts are also brilliant with salads.  Or leftover in sandwiches.  This was so good that for a moment, I thought how wonderful it would be if I could make one of these nut roasts every week!

Having the leftovers meant that I could find time the next day to make it to the first school assembly I have attended all year.  Sylvia's school has changed its weekly assembly from Monday to Friday and I have a very small window to attend.  I was delighted to be there to see her attending an award.  (And I swear I wasn't sitting up the back distracted by chatting to parents I hadn't seen for a while!)  Afterwards when I congratulated her, she asked if we could go straight home.  When I told her I had to go to work, she burst into tears.  Oh dear.  Thank goodness for a kind friend who took her home for a play date.

Another moment of note last week was attending an Annual General Meeting.  We ordered our meals at the pub and then the president stood up and announced that we should start so that we had business finished before our meals arrived.  Now that is my sort of AGM!

Yes it has been busy times!  And only four weeks til Christmas!  It is the third last day of Vegan Mofo.  I have posted almost daily for Vegan MoFo and am looking forward to it ending.  I just don't have the time and energy to keep up.  Yet I am very pleased it has inspired me to try this nut roast.  Too many of my vegan nut roasts have been quite soft.  I am really pleased with both the texture and taste of this one and to have finally tried the laverbread.  I highly recommend it.  But as I am unlikely to have laverbread regularly in my kitchen I am planning to revist this recipe as a plainer vegan nut roast.  Stay tuned!

I am sending this nut roast to Rock Your Vegan Socks and Vnutrition for Healthy Vegan Fridays. to Tinned Tomatoes for Meat Free Mondays, Honest Mum for Brilliant Blog Posts, and Lavender and Lovage, Travels for Taste and Jo's Kitchen for Tea Time Treats.

More vegan nut roasts on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Glazed nut roast cupcakes (gf, v)
Green (pea) nut roast (gf, v)
Lentil and mushroom nut roast (v)
Parsnip nut roast (v)
Sweet potato and poppy seed nut roast with strawberry glaze (v)
Or just check out my complete nut roast list

Welsh nutroast with laverbread, leeks and cheese
Adapted from The Vegan Society
Serves 4-6

1 large leek, chopped
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp laverbread* 
1 tsp yeast extract/vegemite
1 tsp seeded mustard
250g coarsely ground mixed nuts
115g dried wholemeal breadcrumbs
100g grated vegan cheese (I used Biolife)
Pinch white pepper

Optional topping:
1/2 a sheet of puff pastry
milk to glaze

Preheat oven to 200 C.  Grease and line a loaf tin.

Fry leek in oil for about 5 minutes or until soft.  Mix together laverbread, vegemite and mustard.  Gradually add in 125ml (1/2 cup) of hot water and mix until vegemite is dissolved.  Stir together nuts, breadcrumbs, cheese and white pepper.  Stir in vegemite mixture and leeks. It should clump together when pinched.  If too crumbly add a tablespoon or two of water (I added two).  Check seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Tip mixture into prepared tin and smooth down flat with the back of a spoon.  If desired, cut Welsh dragon out of puff pastry, place on nut roast and brush with milk.  Bake for 30 -35 minutes.  It shoudl be golden brown on top and feel firm to touch in the middle.  Best cooled and reheated (20 minutes at 180 C was what I did) to get neater slices.

NOTES: If you don't have laverbread, you could add another tsp of vegemite.  And leave out the cheese too as it would be good without it.  Substitute onion for the leek if that is what you have.  And then you will have an excellent basic vegan nut roast. 

On the Stereo:
A Short Album About Love: Divine Comedy

This post is part of the Vegan Month of Food (Vegan MoFo) in November 2016.  Go to my Vegan MoFo list for more of my 2016 Vegan MoFo posts. 

Week 5's theme is Holidays.  Today the prompt is Holiday Bake Day.  Nut roast has to be one of my favourite holiday bakes.

Sunday 27 November 2016

Aquafaba (chickpea brine) recipes - vegan and eggless

Aquafaba meringues were such an exciting discovery last year.  Using the aquafaba, also known as brine or the liquid drained off a tin of chickpeas, instead of egg white has been surprisingly successful.  Who would have thunk it!  It was like the last frontier in vegan baking had been reached.  As a vegetarian who has never liked egg, I have been delighted that I can go for months without buying eggs because if I want to bake, I can often use aquafaba instead.

Sometimes I add aquafaba and am not convinced it makes a huge difference.  It makes me wonder just how essential eggs are for baking.  Indeed I would go as far as saying that aquafaba is changing my traditions and opening up new opportunities.  (I still want to try making marshmallows, ice cream, a fruit meringue pie, nougat and mayonnaise.)  Below are some of the recipes I have enjoyed making with aquafaba.

For more recipes and advice on aquafaba, check out the Aquafaba (vegan meringues hits and misses Facebook Group.

This post is part of the Vegan Month of Food (Vegan MoFo) in November 2016.  Go to my Vegan MoFo list for more of my 2016 Vegan MoFo posts. 

Week 4's theme is Memories and Traditions

Friday 25 November 2016

Banana and maca muesli (granola)

Muesli (or granola as it is called elsewhere) has been part of my life for a long time.  I didn't always make it.  When I was young we bought it in a packet.  I ate it with milk.  Ever since I have gone through phases of eating it.  Sometimes with juice.  Sometimes with yoghurt.  Occasionally at a breakfast spread at a hotel.  The above photos was inspired by a second hand glass bowl from an op shop that reminded me of a hotel breakfast buffet.

Recently I have enjoyed making my own museli.  While my favourite is my chocolate muesli, every now and again I fancy a change.  With manky bananas in the fruit bowl and a curiosity to try maca powder, I embarked on a new flavour.  It has pleased me very much over a month of breakfasts and I would highly recommend it.

Sylvia and I had fun when I first ate it.  We sang "I like banana, coconut and oats and that's why they call me king of the goats."  (This is a riff on a playground chant in one of her books that goes "I love banana, coconut and grapes and that's why they call me king of the apes.")  Kids are so easy to amuse.  Sadly, they are harder to coax to eat muesli! No breakthrough there!  It is all mine.

My main uncertainty about the muesli was how to use the maca.  I had a feeling that it would marry nicely with banana and I liked the idea that it gave energy for the day.  Then I read I should not cook it.  So I toasted the muesli and added a cup of maca.  My lovely toasted muesli went all powdery.  But I ate it anyway. 

(And did it give me energy.  I only noticed at one point I did not eat muesli for breakfast and was decidedly lacking in energy for a couple of days but I think that was more due to Trump being elected and me being laid low with a headache!)

I liked how it smelled like banana cake when I opened the canister of muesli every morning.  Until I had been eating it almost 5 weeks and then it didn't smell quite so good and I lost confidence in the freshness.  I think the maca would have been better in the toasted muesli rather than added afterwards but am still not sure if this would affect the maca's potency or muesli's shelf life.  More experiments and yummy breakfasts to come.

More oats for breakfast on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Banana oat pancakes - vegan (v)
Chocolate muesli (granola) (v)
Cranachan-style breakfast parfait 
Microwave muesli (v)
Sylvia's porridge (v)
Tahini, quinoa and apricot toasted muesli (v)

Banana and maca muesli (granola)
Adapted from the KitchenMaid

4 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cup seeds
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup dried buckwheat (or quinoa)
3 Tbsp neutral, flavourless oil
3 Tbsp maple syrup
2 large very ripe bananas
1 cup maca, optional

Place everything in large bowl and mix.  Tip into two large lined roasting dishes and baked for 30 minutes at 180 C, stirring once or twice during the baking.  It should be golden brown.  Cool in the tin and then store in an airtight container for about a month.

NOTES: For the seeds I used a mixture of sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, linseed and chia.  For the oil I used rice bran.  I added my maca after I cooked everything else but I would try it in with everything next time, though it may need a bit more liquid.  For those who are confused by terminology, in Australia we have always called it "muesli" rather than "granola" which is used elsewhere!

On the Stereo:
The Gorey End: Tiger Lilies with the Kronos Quartet

This post is part of the Vegan Month of Food (Vegan MoFo) in November 2016.  Go to my Vegan MoFo list for more of my 2016 Vegan MoFo posts. 

Week 4's theme is Memories and Traditions

Thursday 24 November 2016

Zucchini Slice - Veganising a favourite Aussie dinner

Being vegetarian does not mean that I don't still want to eat some favourite childhood dishes.  In Australia, everyone seems to know the zucchini slice recipe made with lots of zucchinis, eggs and cheese.  It is like a big fritatta.  It makes sense that it would have been popular back in the days when people had vegetable gardens and chooks in the backyard.  As we did as kids.  It wasn't too hard to make zucchini slice vegetarian once I discovered a good tofu bacon recipe.  Lately I have been eating less eggs so I decided to make it vegan.  That was more of a challenge.

More recently I have become enamoured of a tofu besan omelette.  I make it often to serve with vegies for an easy dinner.  I decided to make a batch of this to add to the slice instead of eggs.  However I don't have this omelette noted as replacing a certain amount of eggs.  So I don't know how its volume compared to the 5 eggs in the traditional recipe.

Now while I ate quite a bit of bacon before going vegetarian, I never liked eggs.  Discovering vegan alternatives to egg dishes has been really liberating.  Yet I have a problem in understanding how egg dishes should taste.  Which usually doesn't matter.  There would be nothing worse for me than having it taste exactly like eggs.  But figuring out the right texture for the zucchini slice was challenging.

When the slice came out of the oven, it was really oozy to cut.  I could have eaten it with a spoon.  Which seems all wrong.  Yet I think this is the case with an egg version too.  The next day it could be easily sliced and was delicious.  It was like my favourite omelette with lots of vegies and tofu bacon.  We fried a few pieces for a superb weekend brunch.  The zucchini slice was a great alternative to an egg dish. 

More zucchini dishes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One pot pasta with chickpeas and zucchini (v)
Sweet potato, zucchini and olive quesadillas (v) 
Tofu-ricotta, zucchini and pumpkin lasagne (v)
Yeasted zucchini bread (v)
Zucchini brownie with smoked walnuts (v)
Zucchini koftas with tomato gravy (gf, v)

Vegan Zucchini Slice
Adapted from Green Gourmet Giraffe
Serves 4-6 or more for finger food

1/3 cup olive oil, divided
1 onion, chopped
1/3 of a batch of tofu bacon, chopped
1 kg zucchinis (courgettes), grated
150g grated bio cheddar cheese (or your fave vegan cheese)
1 batch tofu besan omelette
1 cup self raising flour
2 tbsp tofu bacon marinade
1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes

Preheat oven to 180 C. Grease a lamington or swiss roll tin (I used a swiss roll tin).

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a largish non-stick frypan and fry the tofu until golden brown but not charred.  Set aside.  In the same frypan add another tablespoon of oil and fry onions until golden brown.

Mix all the omelette ingredients together.  I usually do this with the hand held blender but just used a whisk which make it smooth enough.

Grate zucchinis.  Squeeze some of the liquid out of the grated zucchini.  This can be done in the food processor or by hand. Tip into a large mixing bowl.

Add tofu bacon, fried onion, omelette mixture, grated cheese,  flour, marinade and nutritional yeast flakes to the zucchinis.  Mix well and season to taste.

Tip into prepared tin and spread evenly. Bake for about 35-40 minutes (I did 50 minutes) until golden brown and crispy on top. It is quite soft when cooked but best kept overnight (I kept mine in the tin) and reheated the next day (at 180 C for 15 minutes.)

NOTES: I used about 6 zucchinis this time but it was about 4 last time I made it so I have just put the weight in the recipe.  Other vegan cheeses could be used, such as Daiya.  As it was very soft and oozy when cooked so I wonder if adding a bit more besan to the omelette mixture might help.

On the Stereo:
Paris Rive Droite - various artists

This post is part of the Vegan Month of Food (Vegan MoFo) in November 2016.  Go to my Vegan MoFo list for more of my 2016 Vegan MoFo posts. 

Week 4's theme is Memories and Traditions

Wednesday 23 November 2016

Rice paper bacon

Where do I start?  With my love of all things smoky?  With my fascination for all vegan bacon substitutes?  With my memories of pork crackling as a child?  Ok let me start with my recent excitment at the idea of making bacon from rice paper and the claims of how crispy and crackly it is.  And indeed it was easy and amazing and brought back childhood memories.

Yes all I had to do was dip two sheets of rice paper in water, cut into thick slices, dip in a bacon marinade and bake for 7-8 minutes.  I wish I had had some fresh soft bread to try a bacon butty.  I took a photo of it on a plate with some breakfast food but really it was just amazing to eat as it was in crispy crunchy slightly chewy (depending on how much it was baked) strips.

You might be surprised at this transformation of the humble rice paper that is better known for making rice paper rolls.  Yet if you have ever tried baking it to make spring rolls you will understand how pleasingly crispy it can be.

Tofu bacon remains my special facon sweetheart.  It is versatile enough to go in most places I would put bacon.  It also has lots of nutritional goodness.  Yet I think when just want easy and crispy I would turn to this rice paper bacon.  I can imagine it being loaded on a proper fry up for brunch with tofu besan omelette or besan scramble , vegies sausages, baked beans, fried tomato and spinach.  Or maybe crumbled over a salad.

Rice paper bacon is weird but it works.  Unlike thunderstorm asthma which is just weird and upsetting.  I had never heard of thunderstorm asthma until this week when Melbourne had a freak weather occurrence of a 35 C day which turned into a thunderstorm.  Our hospitals and ambulance systems were overwhelmed and sadly three people have died.  Thunderstorm asthma, super moons and earthquakes!  Nature does seem quite odd lately. 

More vegan bacon recipes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Bean and buckwheat bacon (gf, v) 
Coconut bacon (gf, v)
Eggplant bacon (gf, v)
Tempeh bacon (gf, v)
Tofu bacon (gf, v)

Rice Paper bacon
Adapted from yup it's vegan

8 rounds of rice paper

Bacon marinade:
3 tbsp tamari (soy sauce)
2 tbsp maple syrup'
1 tbsp tomato sauce or tomato paste
1/2 tsp nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 tbsp liquid smoke
1 tsp smoked paprika

Preheat oven to 200 C.  Line a few baking sheets with baking paper.

Make the bacon marinade by mixing all ingredients and pouring into a long dish.  Now take two rounds of rice paper stacked on top of each other.  Dip in a large shallow dish of water.  Take out a shake as much water off as possible.  Cut into about 5 thick strips with large scissors.  Dip each strip  into the marinade and shake a little off.  Place on lined baking sheets.  Bake for 7-8 minutes.

NOTES: I have only made this once but I would like to experiment more.  The top bacon is quite crackly but a tiny bit charred around the edges.  The bottom one is less crackly and more chewy but not so charred.  I would like some time to try this and get a good sense of how long it should be in my oven.

On the Stereo:
Bella Vista Terrace: The Best of the Go Betweens

This post is part of the Vegan Month of Food (Vegan MoFo) in November 2016.  Go to my Vegan MoFo list for more of my 2016 Vegan MoFo posts. 

Week 4's theme is Memories and Traditions

Tuesday 22 November 2016

Burger buns (vegan)

When I make burger patties, in my mind the perfect way to serve them is sandwiched in a burger bun with lots of colourful salad.  Most times I put too much energy into the patties, don't have time to make any buns and am lucky if I even remember to buy some in the shops.  For some time I have wanted to find a good burger buns recipe.  This one might well be the keeper I have been seeking.

When I recently made smoky apple vegie burger patties, I took a burger bun recipe from The Kitchn and veganised it with aquafaba.  It was a lovely dough to work with and relaxing to knead it at the kitchen table while chatting to my mum, leave it to rise while I made chocolates, and then shape it under her watchful eye.  My mum made bread during my childhood and I learnt a lot from her and these days it is great to talk about bread making with her. 

I might have also been harking back to my childhood when I sprinkled sesame seeds on top of the buns.  It is a long time since I had a MacDonalds burger, but I can still recite at speed "two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickled onions on a sesame seed bun".  I have no desire for their burgers these days but sesame seeds still seem right on a burger bun.  Unfortunately Sylvia took a child's dislike to seeds and was most displeased with my sprinkling.  No Maccas burgers in her childhood, you see!

Luckily for Sylvia, burgers these days are more sophisticated than those of my youth.  She is not keen on burgers but at least I can show her how good they can be when she finally embraces them!  While burger buns are rather plain, they really do make a burger look special.

More yeasted buns/rolls from Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Carrot and poppy seed dinner rolls (v)
Cranberry nut rolls
Hot Cross Buns - wholemeal (v)
Pretzel buns (v)
Pumpernickel Rolls with Currants (v)

Burger buns
Adapted from The Kitchn
Makes 8 buns

1 tablespoon active-dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup soy milk
1 tbsp ground flax (linseeds)
3 tbsp aquafaba
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups white plain flour
1 tablespoon margarine
sesame seeds for sprinkling

  • Mix yeast and warm water in a large mixing bowl.  Stand for about 5 minutes until the mixture is frothy so you know the yeast is doing its thing!
  • Mix in milk, flax, aquafaba, oil, sugar and salt.  Add in flour until you have a shaggy dough.
  • Knead for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and slightly sticky.  (I needed very little flour for kneading.
  • Return dough to the mixing bowl, cover with clingfilm and set aside in a warm place to rise for an hour or until doubled in size.
  • Divide dough into 8 pieces and shape into tight balls.   Place buns on a lined baking sheet with an inch or two between each.
  • Cover buns with a tea towel and let rise for about 30-40 minutes until puffy.  
  • While buns are rising preheat oven to 190 C or 375 F.
  • When buns are risen, melt margarine and brush over the tops of buns.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds.  
  • Bake for 15-18 minutes until golden brown.

On the Stereo:
The best of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds

This post is part of the Vegan Month of Food (Vegan MoFo) in November 2016.  Go to my Vegan MoFo list for more of my 2016 Vegan MoFo posts. 

Week 4's theme is Memories and Traditions

Monday 21 November 2016

Tofu besan omelette (vegan)

E and I first went out for a meal together in an internet cafe in Edinburgh.  He ordered a fried egg sandwich with sauce.  I was fascinated.  Having never liked eggs, this sandwich seemed as foreign to me as Scotland did.  These days, though fried egg sandwiches are never seen in our house, we love a tofu besan omelette sandwich.

This tofu besan omelette recipe is not new to my blog.  I have included it as part of other recipes previously.  However it is such a common dish in our house that I wanted to feature it.  And I wanted to rewrite the recipe in a way that makes sense to me when I make it.  I always have the ingredients on hand because omelette and vegies is one of my favourite easy meals. 

I am never brave enough to fold it over with vegies inside it.  I am just happy to see the golden brown skin when I flip it out of the pan onto a large plate.  It is quite soft when first cooked.  By the next day any leftovers have firmed up.

As I have commented before, the combination of tofu and besan (chickpea flour) works together brilliantly.  By itself tofu is too damp, and if made with just besan it can be too dry.  Together they make the right squidgy mixture.

I often serve it with whatever vegies and leftovers are on hand.  I think there was some fried rice dish in the above plate.  And lots of colourful vegies.  It is such an easy meal.  Perhaps slightly more work than an egg omelette but I am so used to making it that it seems no effort.  I have always admired those who can do easy egg meals.  This tofu besan omelette (known as a tofu omelette in our house) has become my lazy equivalent. 

Leftover tofu omelette is also a wonderful thing.  Or should I say, it is terribly useful.  A few slices or a scattering of some chopped tofu can pep up lots of meals.  Sandwiches, stews, pizza and fried rice. 

The above photos will give you more ideas:
*Top: Sushi stack, Pasta with pumpkin, omelette and parmesan
*Middle: Asian rice bowl, Caesar salad,
*Bottom: Portuguese fried rice, Pad see ew

Other savoury vegan "egg" recipes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
French toast - savoury and seedy (v)
Spinach, sundried tomato and chive chickpea scramble (gf, v)
Tofu scramble (gf, v)
Vegan bubble and squeak frittata (gf, v) 
Vegan quiche with tofu and besan (v)

Tofu besan omelet
Adapted from Chez Cayenne via Green Gourmet Giraffe

300g silken tofu, drained
6 tbsp besan (chickpea flour),
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon mirin
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion granules
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
pinch black salt
1-2 tsp canola oil, for frying

Blend tofu, olive oil and mirin in blender.  Transfer to bowl and mix in remaining ingredients.

Heat heavy bottomed non-stick frypan over low heat and swirl around 1 to 2 tsp of oil to cover the pan.  Pour in the thick batter and use the back of a spoon to swirl it around the pan (I think my omelet was about 22 or 23cm in diameter).  Cook for 10 minutes on low heat and then cover with a large saucepan lid and cook another 10 minutes on low heat.

Use an eggflip or spatula to loosen so it slides around the pan.  Carefully flip (or slide) onto a dinner plate.  Use warm or cool in the fridge until required. 

NOTES: I have tried this without a blender - it is not quite as smooth but is pretty good.  I have also tried this with firm tofu and it was so thick I had to add some milk and then adjust the seasoning too. Leftovers are great in sandwiches.

On the Stereo:
Flogging a Dead Horse - Sex Pistols

This post is part of the Vegan Month of Food (Vegan MoFo) in November 2016.  Go to my Vegan MoFo list for more of my 2016 Vegan MoFo posts. 

Week 4's theme is Memories and Traditions