Sunday, September 10, 2017

Cooking the Books

Here's this week's round up of what I cooked. A lot of time went into cooking this weekend, did a quite time consuming dish for dinner Saturday night and then prepped stuff ready for Sunday brunch.

Let's start with the first dish, I loved garlic prawns, was it about the prawns or about the garlic sauce? Possibly more about the garlic sauce they were in than the prawns themselves.
Here are the vegan prawns in a spicy garlic sauce, so spicy, and the prawns? Texture wise it certainly seemed familiar to a cooked prawn but taste wise not really like a prawn.
Gambas Al Ajillo from Smith & Daughters A Cookbook

And back to the smoothies! I can't get away from them, I have become a smoothie person.
Candy Bar Smoothie from Bake and Destroy: Bad Food for Good Vegans

Yeah, It's A Green Smoothie from Bake and Destroy: Bad Food for Good Vegans
 I went the hint of not using kale as a green smoothie noob, also omitted the optional additions of wheat grass powder and spirulina powder. It was way better than I expected.

And as for this weekend's delicacy's...

Chandra Malai Kofta from Isa Does It with a bonus book recipe - Chapatti from Vegan Eats World

Brunch - Overnight Thai Tofu Scramble from Isa Does It and Arnold Palmer Granita from Bake and Destroy. 
The tofu hater has requested the tofu scramble again, the tofu hater seems to love all the tofu dishes I've cooked lately. The granita has received rave reviews all round, I've had requests to make it with other types of tea. We drink a lot of fruit infusions and herbals in our family.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Cooking the Books

Bonus Cookbook! Made Corn Tortillas from Viva Vegan!
Ancho Lentil Tacos from Isa Does It with fresh Corn Tortillas from Viva Vegan! and the Orange Granita (Slushy) from Bake and Destroy.


Chocolate Chia Pudding from Hippie Lane The Cookbook


Spiced Ginger, Pecan and Pear Granola from Hippie Lane The Cookbook. I had this for breakfast this morning with coconut yogurt and fresh berries, very yummy.


And it was with great excitement that I got a price drop notification from Book Depository the other week to say Bed & Broccoli: the food, the lifestyle was 50% off! It would also ship apparently in 2 business days from Australia, it actually took a week for it to ship but it did arrive within 3 days of it being sent.
It was waiting for me when I got home from orientation today, for my new job which starts in 2 3 weeks.

It's a beautiful book and full of photographs of the bed & broccoli residents, some very nice looking recipes. I've already made a mental list of things I want to make, but it'll have to wait till I've cooked from the other current books I've picked out. :(

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Notes from the Darkside

Picked two new books to add to the rotation, I've also menu planned for the next three weeks while I await the start date for my new job. I'm waiting to see what my hours are like before I plan anything then.

The books I picked are Vegan Street Food: Foodie Travels from India to Indonesia by Jackie Kearney and Bake and Destroy: Good Food For Bad Vegans by Natalie Slater. Two very different books from each other.

Vegan Street Food

Jackie Kearney was a finalist on the UK Masterchef in 2011, I don't watch Australian Masterchef so what can I tell you about Masterchef? Basicially that it exists, that's the extent of my knowledge on it.

I picked this because a) this is the regions my favourite foods come from, b) I've always wanted to try more from this book, c) Jackie Kearney has a second book coming out later this year on world cuisine which I'm excited to see and d) when you talk comfort food for me this is it, foods inspired from Indian and South East Asian cuisine are what I want. My new job is in a brand new just been built building so there's been some stressors involved with the whole waiting to start and impending start processes.

The recipes I picked are things I've been trying to find a version of that I like, I struggle with Dals. Things I've seen on cooking shows, like the hoppers. Things I hoped to try while I was traveling and never got a chance to like the Banh Mi. Or things that involve a new cooking skill, like the steamed buns.
And with the curries, because I have eaten versions of them out and really want to have a go at recreating them at home.
  • The Hungry Gecko's Dal Masala - Yellow Dal with Eggplant
  • Green Jackfruit Vindaloo
  • Banana & Date Lassi
  • Wedding Hoppers - Fermented Coconut Pancakes
  • Gaeng Keow Wan - Traditional Thai Green Curry
  • Banh Mi Buddha - Vietnamese Stuffed Baguette with Gochujang Tofu, Roasted Mushroom Pate and Pickled Vegetables
  • Nam Rom Kho To - Mushroom Claypot
  • Buddha's Tapas - Hoisin Mock Duck & Chilli-Bean Tofu Lettuce Cups with Steamed Flower Buns
  • Vegetarian Mee Rebus - Sweet Potato & Soy Bean Noodle Curry
  • Hungry Gecko Jungle Curry - Country Vegetable Curry with Tempeh (This version is based on the Indonesian style rather than the Thai one, so might be slightly different to what I've had.)
Bake and Destroy

Quite a lot of vegan cook books are written by American authors, no matter how many American cook books I read I still find American food foreign exotic unusual different unfamiliar. Where Asian food feels familiar in a way as if I grew up eating it, American food is as alien to me as the cuisines of a European or Middle Eastern country.

Bake and Destroy certainly covers the quirky aspects of American food that I'm intrigued by, it also has fun little cartoon drawings through out the book which makes me love flicking through it. I delved a lot into the breakfast chapter, most days I have a smoothie for breakfast, I will admit to being a rabid convert these. I decided one day a week to have a breakfast that required a bit more time and effort, something a bit fancier than a glass of liquid.

A huge influence on my food is things I see on television or read in books, like that episode of Seinfeld about the muffins. And the struggle to get rid of the muffin stumps after they cut the tops off to sell by themselves. One day while strolling through the supermarket I saw they had muffin top tins, I bought the tin. I had no idea how I would make muffins in it at the time but knew I would eventually find a recipe. (I did courtesy of another American vegan cook book.)
Another food item that always peaked my interest was a story Bill Bryson wrote about going to the supermarket with his wife shortly after they moved back to America. He was talking about the odd food products he found in the supermarket and the ones that found the way into the trolley for him to try. The most memorable for me was a breakfast pizza. What? I mean I've eaten leftover pizza for breakfast...

  • Orange Juice Granita
  • Arnold Palmer Granita
  • Double Soy Latte Granita (I no longer drink caffeinated coffee, so this will be decaf.)
  • Breakfast Pizza (I suspect Bill Bryson's one didn't have scrambled tofu on it.)
  • Candy Bar Smoothie
  • Yeah, It's a Green Smoothie
  • Whole Wheat Choco-Coconut Donuts
  • You Don't Know Jack Hash
  • Taco Lasagna
  • Samosa Potpie
  • Baked Potato Spring Rolls
And because I'm making soup to Feed the Freezer* with, I wanted something stashed in there to pull out and have with the soups.
  • Stuffin' Muffins
  • Crouching Cornbread, Hidden Broccoli 
*Feed the Freezer, I'm trying to build up a stash of meals that I can just pull out, reheat and eat on busy days. Soup is excellent for this as a single serving thaws/reheats super quick, essential when you come home late and are slightly feral.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Cooking the Books - Midweek Special

Chickpea Bolognese from Thug Kitchen 101

Present Glow Bars, before chilling and cutting from Oh She Glows Cookbook

Pureed Split Pea & Rutabaga (Swede) Soup from Isa Does It
I've finished the current selections from two of my chosen books, so back on the bookshelf they shall go and I will get to pick another two books to choose recipes to make. What to choose?

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Cooking the Books

Alternative title - Some of the things I ate this week. Turns out it's breakfast week this week. No failures, the Oatmeal Smoothie  needed a bit of something else, which I'll remember the next time I make it. Pretty much a week of delicious breakfasts.

Instant Oatmeal Smoothie from Thug Kitchen 101

Morning Glory Smoothie from Oh She Glows



Banana Cinamon Smoothie from Hippie Lane The Cookbook

Strawberry Lover's Smoothie from Hippie Lane The Cookbook

Neapolitan Chia Pudding from Hippie Lane The Cookbook

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Thoughts from the Darkside

I've been working my way around the web making smoothies for my breakfasts, how did I get by before Pinterest? I know with a never ending and unwieldy book mark list.

Speaking of unwieldy things, I organised my vegan cookbooks. This was a time consuming process because I kept pausing in the process to read them.
I got it all done in the end and they are now grouped into rough categories, sweet & savoury baking, sweet baking & desserts, world cuisine, etc.

Six cookbooks have been chosen, from which I made a short medium list of things to make, which was really really hard because I want to cook all the things from all the books!
Details are below, along with some brief thoughts on the books. Peruse at your leisure!

Thug Kitchen 101

Ah, Thug Kitchen, this is the third book and like the first two and their website contains strong language. Know your audience, my mother is not that audience. Which means when I make the Bolognese she can see the recipe but only under close supervision.
  • Chickpea Bolognese
  • Instant Oatmeal Smoothie

Isa Does It

Isa Chandra Moskowitz, I love all her books! Out of the many of Isa's recipes I've made I have had only one fail. Can't recommend her enough.
  • Chandra Malai Kofta
  • Thai Overnight Scramble
  • Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Seared Brussels Sprouts & Tarragon Cream
  • Mushroom Hot Pot
  • Ancho Lentil Tacos
  • Pureed Split Pea & Rutabaga (Swede) Soup

Smith & Daughters 

I was so excited for this as it was an Australian vegan cookbook, I've become fluent in North American cookbook language but still. I love this book, it has beautiful kitschy photos, black pages and very yummy sounding recipes. It has a very Latin vibe to a lot of the food, think Spanish and Mexican.
  • Oyster Mushroom & White Bean Ceviche
  • Albondigas (Spanish Meatballs)
  • Gambas Al Ajillo (Spanish Prawns)

Oh She Glows Cookbook

Oh She Glows, it's a healthful cookbook, which does make it one I wouldn't dip into often. Contrary to many of the current health trends I still cook with oil, eat sugar and carbs and I don't think eating the occasional food made with white flour is really all that bad.
The saying which I believe is attributed to the French "Everything in moderation, including moderation", is my motto and to back this up I've lost 30kgs and counting. While this is obviously working, I'm still happy to make room on my bookshelf and in my stomach for the more healthful offerings out there.
  • Present Glow Bars
  • Morning Glory Smoothie

Hippie Lane The Cookbook

Hippie Lane, is another healthful cookbook and an Australian author! When I read about it, off I went in search of it. After looking at it, I decided to buy it for two reasons. Firstly, it was an Australian author and secondly despite being healthful, I knew I would eventually make everything in the breakfast section. While the other sections are not unappealing, it's not likely to be the first book I reach for when planning dinner.
I was also quite intrigued by the Sweet chapter, a lot of the recipes in it are Raw recipes. I've always been a bit skeptical about the whole Raw food movement, I must admit a couple of Raw food cookbooks do grace my bookshelves and I often look at them and think in the summer when it's hot...
  • Neapolitan Chia Puddings - Strawberry and Chocolate Flavours
  • Roasted Cinnamon Pumpkin Soup
  • Banana Cinnamon Smoothie
  • Strawberry Lovers Smoothie
  • Chai Tea Lattes
  • Spiced Ginger, Pecan & Pear Granola
Stretch goals:
  • Veggie Brunch Board
  • Fruit Platter with Orange Lime Dressing & Strawberry Yoghurt

Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook

This was the latest book Isa Chandra Moskowitz released and it's a lovely book, but...You could all see that coming. It's interesting to read about the occasions each chapter is on, most of those aren't really celebrated in my corner of the world and if they are the book is written with a Northern Hemisphere climate in mind. I think to get the most use out of it I will need to think of it as seasonal rather than event cooking. The food in the Thanksgiving and Christmas chapters looks delicious but would be better served in winter rather than December here.
  • Arancini with Almond Cheese
  • Tofu Short Ribs with Gingery Mashed Root Vegetables
  • Seared Dragon Green Beans with Almonds

Friday, April 11, 2014

Good things to come

I still have to write about Christmas, there are pictures and well it was eventful, things got burned, not everthing was ready at the same time. But I've come out of it a little wiser I hope.

Anyway on with the rest of the blog...

My name is Suzi and I'm a shameless cookbook addict, even before I started cooking vegan I collected cookbooks. Where ever I went I was always on the look out for cookbooks, secondhand cookbooks are a wonderful glimpse into cooking of the past. The photos in 80's cookbooks! Wonderful, just wonderful.

I read cookbooks like novels, in an effort to manage the collection I have set myself a personal challenge to cook one thing from four different cookbooks each month.  I'm hoping in about 6 months I can look the collection over and see what doesn't have many sticky notes or worse has none, suss out why these books have been neglected and maybe pare the collection back a bit if need be.

For the month of April I've picked Isa Does It and Vegan Brunch both by Isa Chandra Moskowitz (and well used), Cheers to Vegan Sweets by Kelly Peloza (cooked from it once) and one of the newest additions to the collection and not cooked from yet More Quick-Fix Vegan by Robin Robertson.

I was really hoping to cook with Kohl Rabi, I saw it at the supermarket, I've been scouring my books for where I saw the recipe using this vegetable, no luck so far. I have two theories 1.) I saw it in a book I've had from the library, 2.) I've merely imagined ever seeing a recipe for this vegetable and have maybe seen it somewhere and further imagined I had seen a recipe for it.

Other things In my imagination, I have fallen in love with a new piece of kitchen hardware, maybe as a Christmas present for myself, in blue!



I have been watching videos on You Tube of people making stuff with the food processor, while shouting "Yeah baby! Slice all the vegetables! Oh yeah!".
Porn wishes it were this exciting. :)