Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Inspiration, taking it where you find it.

gnocchi with spinach, roasted zucchini and basil pesto (vegetarian)   

I ate this out and what can I say? The roasted zucchini was a winner, I've been thinking about it ever since. I've also been thinking about gnocchi ever since as well, just before this I had a vegan gnocchi dish out that has made me totally rethink my stance on gnocchi. I love gnocchi! Now.

There was this recipe on the PPK for Pesto Soup with Gnocchi, Beans and Greens, which I thought I'd try at home and add in some roasted zucchini of my own to the mix.

Friday, December 23, 2011

After Christmas...

Here it is! Terry has posted her recipe for the black cake, I shall have to make it after Christmas at this stage along with her Coquito Bonito.

And Xmas dinner, well, debate has raged and now the tofu and noodle salad is cancelled. So it's a peanut butter sandwich after all. I have my blender, but I will have a poke in the supermarket later to see if I can find a ready meal that is vegan and I can simply heat and eat. Baked beans maybe???

And the family wonder why I object to Xmas with them, probably hinges on the fact I'm bored stiff and hungry!
Cue the same conversation 1001 times, endless cups of teas, and a distinct lack of alcohol. Christmas should be illegal without the insulating intake of alcohol.

I think of Nigella talking about in her Christmas book, in reference to her lychee martini putting it into a water bottle and taking it the the children's school concert with her.
This sounds like a plan, nothing as exotic as a lychee martini, and just Xmas with the family as opposed to a school concert, I don't have that joy. Yet.

Maybe a Salted Caramel Martini? I know I have a bottle of Butterscotch Schnapps in the back of the cupboard. Do these things ever go off?? Ah well one way to find out.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Christmas Weekend Menu revised...

Christmas Eve Lunch with Family - A BBQ. Oh really now?
What I'll be making for myself Orange Ginger Baked Tofu with  Noodle Salad with Peanut Mmmm Sauce

Christmas Day Lunch(?) with the same Family. Again. - Lunch? Or maybe not, it's now all up in the air.

How it orginally looked what I was making:
- Pull-Apart Rolls from Vegan Brunch
- Seitan Roast from the PPK
- Scalloped Potatoes from the PPK
- Steamed asparagus and sweet potato

Only now on Xmas day, were taking a cold lunch to see my grandmother in the nursing home, only who and what exactly were doing for this lunch is a mystery. As were meant to be going back home to have our hot lunch. My mother making the arrangements with the extended family is very vague on the what/when.

The potatoes take an hour to bake, so since I don't have a time frame, and I have no idea if were all eating or not at the cold lunch. Since I don't know when were having the hot lunch I have a new plan.

- Peanut butter sandwich to take to the cold nibbly/lunch.
- Probably make a smoothie after we get home, or eat leftovers from the X-Eve lunch.
- On Boxing day when not seeing anyone or doing anything else, then make the full cooked lunch I was planning for X-Day. Or not, see how enthused I feel.

Lines of communication run like this in my family, my mother is getting the turkey roll and cooking it ready to serve and eat cold on the day. Right, simple you'd think? Especially seeing the extended family have been told of this. My mum has bought two turkey rolls and is thawing them to cook in advance, the extended family have also bought a turkey roll and are thawing it ready to cook and serve cold on the day.
Yes, that's 3 turkey rolls. Cauliflower cheese and whatever salads the macrobiotic vegetarian/ pescertarian is bringing to the lunch. The other pescertarian in the family will "eat meat if it's there".
Lines are very blured in our family!

That PB sandwich and smoothie is suddenly looking mighty tempting. At least it'll be vegan. And quickly prepared.

What I've cooked lately...

Seitan roast pre-baking...

Seitan roast after baking

Mama Pea's Gravy

Seitan roast, Mama Pea's Mash and Gravy and steamed broccolini
Almond Shake from

My first attempt at pastsy, single crust from Veganomicon

Strawberry & Rhubarb Crumb Pie unbaked

Strawberry & Rhubarb Crumb Pie baked

And it was delicious!
Pea and Lemon Risotto from the Veganomicon

French Puff Muffins from ........

Shitake Risotto from Potluck Mania #2

Mushroom filling from Chef Chloe's Oyster Mushroom Tacos

Garlic White Wine Mushrooms

Soaking the fruit for Black Cake

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Coming soon...

I'm in the process of uploading another huge photo update, I'll finishing naming everything and publish it later.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like.....

Four things I plan to do with dark rum:-
1. Wine Drenched Fruit for Caribbean Black Cake from
2. Rumnog Pecan Cookies from the Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero
3. Eggnog Spiced Nuts from
4. Drink it!

Guess what I bought today huh??? (Edit to Add: Dark rum!)
And since apparently some campaign got started at some point about coming to the Darkside because we have cookies...well it's a campaign I am certainly willing to get behind. Our houses are made of gingerbread too you know, with candy stain glass windows. Come on over and chow down!
Cookies I'm hoping to squeeze into the baking rotation before that day arrives:-
No Bake Snowball Cookies - I love the accompanying description with these "
These have nearly half the sugar of the traditional version and just a fraction of the fat." - Mama Pea

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cups
- I'd also really like this is someone else made me these. Hint family! Big hint! Apparently the big hint I dropped about Eggnog Spiced Nuts has been picked up, maybe I'll be lucky?
Christmas Cookie Dough Balls - Probably with candy canes.
Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies - I have a gingerbread man wearing a santa hat cutter.
Pie Plate Shortbread from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar - Since it's moulded into a tart tin and turned out to bake, I thought I might try this in my shortbread mould.

Sugar Cookie Smoothie
- Alright so this last one is not actually a cookie per se, can you blame a girl?
I'd also like to try the vanilla fudge from Hannah Kaminsky's Wicked Treats e-book, but probably cut out with Xmas shaped cutters as opposed to ghost ones. Although I'd totally appreciate ghost shaped fudge at Xmas. If I'd been more organised I'd have ordered a set of Gingerdead Men and made them. Maybe one year I'll make the gingerbread house but make it a haunted one.
Christmas lunch looks like this for me - Seitan Roast Stuffed with ah...mushroom and maybe onion?, scalloped potatoes  (minus eggplant bacon, one less step on the morning) and vegan gravy - either made from scratch (Mama Pea's was good) or Massel instant, I've had their Supreme Gravy but I have seen a Turkey one as well. All Massel's stocks and gravies are vegan so yeah!

And the Raw Strawberry Cheesecake, I'm wavering on logisitics now of this, it needs the cashews soaked at the very least 3 hours. It might be late Xmas Eve before it gets into the fridge to start chilling.

Something else I'm wavering about is I had a sudden thought about how much fun it would be to make fresh bread or more likely rolls on X-Day. It was this Olive Oil Bread niggling at the back of my mind that did it, then I thought about the Poppyseed Pullapart in Vegan Brunch only without poppy seeds as I really don't like them, maybe sesame instead? I could make it the night before and pop it in the fridge overnight ready to get out and bake in the morning.

Breakfast on the day. French Toast? Strata? Muffins? Pancakes? Cocktails? Oh yes, cocktails for sure.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Are you in or are you out?

I've been trying to come up with answers to both my own questions and other people's, are you vegan or vegetarian?

And to which the obvious answer is vegetarian, but I am disappointed in this answer. I've come to see it as a failing on my part; I was always happy with vegetarianism and always expected vegans to be a "bit weird".

Vegans are far from weird; my brief experience has shown me they are intelligent, funny, rational and extremely passionate.
I really envy them their passion, I sort of fell into veganism. I didn't come to it through the moral high ground; I came to it from the food perspective.  Come for the food, stay for the saving of the animals!

Which brings me to that very infamous quote from that even more infamous movie:
"Do or do not... there is no try." - Yoda, Star Wars

I'd eat 90% vegan (everything I cook myself) and probably about still 10% vegetarian (when I'm out). Cruelty free/environmentally friendly products have always been a huge deal for me, ah you found me out, and I’m secretly a tree hugger!

The big word here is TRY, I'm trying to live a more compassionate lifestyle. Food has become a lot easier, but I will admit to being still quite a noob when it comes to cruelty free non-food products.

Something that once again came home to me when I attended an info session for the local roller derby league. I had reiterated what I'd already learned, a leather boot is the best kind of skate boot. There are loads of synthetic versions available, usually cheaper than the leather versions and there are starting to come on the market 100% vegan skates.

When I first became interested in derby the whole leather v non-leather skates wouldn't have been an issue, now, I couldn't comfortably buy leather skates, no matter how much better they might be.

While there may be no try, I feel I may be doing in a fashion, I think I may be "doing" for some time to come before I'm actually happy with the result.