Monday, October 24, 2011

Working with leftovers

Our old camera finally chucked in the towel, and I lost the charger for my new camera, so I haven't been able to take any pictures of any of the yummy stuff I've been making lately. I can barely remember what we had for tea last night. I am waiting for a new charger to come in the mail (it better be the right one darnit!) so until then I'm digging through stuff I haven't posted yet.
Last week sometime (or maybe the week before) I made up some mushroom stroganoff (recipe here) but couldn't bear just reheating it and eating it again. So I cooked up some bowtie pasta, mixed it through with some nutritional yeast and baked it in the oven for about 25 minutes. Two serves kind of turned into four, but we ate it all anyway. Everything is better baked in the oven.

Anyway, some things I have made but couldn't take pictures of that I'm very disappointed about:

This delicious Gluten Free Pumpkin pie - minus the praline because I'm lazy. It's so good. We're still getting through it so maybe I'll get a picture of it's amazingness soon.
Caramel slice - yes I bought a tin of condensed soy caramel purely to make this, and thankfully my stepmum was holding a morning tea for breast cancer research and asked me to bake we only ate one piece instead of the whole pan! So good. I used lindt 70% dark choclate for the top.

And lastly, the frosted grapefruit icebox cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade your Cookie Jar (also for Margaret's morning tea). I will probabaly make these again. They are so different but so yummy. Remember to soften your copha enough, and yours will end up even better than mine!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A blast from the past

I recently sold my old car, and after paying a fair chunk of it onto my credit card, I decided to go nuts and buy a heap of things I don't normally buy, and one of the things I got are those creepy frozen vegan prawns by Lamyong! (in the description of them on this page it says they contain gluten, soy and dairy. The packet says vegan on it though, and I bought them at the Green Edge, an all-vegan shop.) I know, right? Ew. They even had the pink bits on the back. I don't know how they do that. On the packet it says they have the texture of gnocchi. As unappealing as that sounds I still bought them just to try, because why not? Besides, I wanted to put them in Tom Yum soup (which I did, but my camera died so I couldn't take a good picture).

To test them out in all their fake prawny glory, I decided to make simple garlic butter prawns, a treat of mine I used to make back in the days when i worked at a fish n chip shop. I basically mixed together a lump of vegan margarine with a grated clove of garlic, and fried the frozen fake prawns in it until they were cooked. Didn't take long. I then tried to make my fake prawns swimming in garlic butter a little bit healthier by putting them in a bowl of baby spinach and a sliced avocado! Black pepper on top completed the lunchtime snack.

Okay, small review. These things made me feel sick they tasted so real. Gnocchi texture? Notsomuch. I'd say it was pretty damn close to a real prawn. If you are a vegan who has never eaten a prawn but may be curious, these are a pretty damn close substitute. I'm planning on making some sort of prawn salady thing with homemade cocktail sauce for Christmas lunch with these. We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Some Food We Ate This Week

I love food. I love thinking about food making food and eating food. I love having enough of a variety of stuff in my 'pantry' that I can come home and just throw some ingredients in a pot and call it a nutritional meal:
This is a pantry curry-like meal, it was so quick to make, neither of us knew what we felt like and this sort of thing is usually what I make in that sort of situation. Bonus points for having tins of tomatoes in the pantry and not having to go to the shops! I don't measure anything for this type of throw together but here are the ingredients: about 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, 1 400g tin crushed or chopped tomatoes, most of a medium sized cauliflower, onion, carrot, the end of a bag of mung bean sprouts, spring onions, about half a block of soft tofu I found lurking in the fridge (it disintegrated), and a fair chunk of garam masala powder and some dried chilli flakes. I think I served it on brown rice. No garlic left, decided I didn't care. Oh, I also grated some fresh ginger in the last few minutes of cooking because ginger makes everything better.
Terrible photo, I was in a rush to eat it.

This meal I planned! All day at work I'd been thinking about how I haven't had eggplant for a while, so by the end of the day I wanted it pretty bad. I also felt like lentils for the same reason - they are so quick to cook and are delicious, why then don't I use them more often? So I picked up my copy of Appetite for Reduction and found Lentil & Eggplant Chilli Mole on page 242. Mmm cocoa powder in a non-sweet dish. It always freakes me out a little, I mean, it sounds gross. It really does. But I have made a mole before (I'm sure I would have posted about it, it being so weird to me and all but I can't find it), decided I like chocolate spicy things and this one had both eggplant AND lentils in it so it was a winner. I served it with the suggested Corn and Scallion Corn Bread from page 244 of the same book and it was delicious. I love corn bread. I should also make THAT more often! 

The supermarket didn't have any of the big eggplants left so I had to buy a kilo of the little lebanese ones. I swear there was like a hundred of them. Cutting up one big one is sooo much easier than slicing a million little ones. They were the same price though, so it was okay. I thought it wasn't all going to fit but it cooks down quite nicely. One thing I find confusing about US recipes - the amount of chilli powder called for. Often it'll say a few tbsp of the stuff! (I just read this recipe again and it specifies mild, there's my answer.) Australian chilli powder (I just buy the stuff from the fruit shop) must be like a bazillion times hotter than American, a tsp or two is usually plenty, and I like spicy heat.
Onto a breakfast! I can't remember when exactly I made this, probably Sunday. For a plethora of deliciously interesting pancake recipes, go to Chocolate Covered Katie's blog. These are the Apple Pie pancakes, but Nadine had stolen my apple I had my sights on so I used a grated pear instead. Just as delicious I am sure! I made the Vanilla Ice Milk too, sort of - I should have frozen it the night before but I didn't, so I was lazy and had semi frozen blended almond milk on top of my pancakes. The semi frozen almond milk was freakin delicious by the way - almond milk is probably going to be my ice cream milk of choice when I finally buy my ice cream maker. I have no patience for the freezing and stirring business.

I'm so glad I love to cook. I have no idea what else I'd be doing with my spare time!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Mmm carbs

Best flavour combination. Nadine and I went out and drank a fair amount of wine last night and the results are always NEED CARBS NOW and this is usually my fall back hangover lunch.

Long pasta, cliced chilli and garlic (and optional sliced olives and sundried tomato). Plonk a knob of nuttlex on top and voila.
This is what Bob does when it's stormy, like this morning. It's so sad :(
And this is what Charlee does when it thunders! We woke up this morning and found her under the covers too!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Been baking up a cyclone lately.

First, it was the bagels. (I also baked some carrot muffins on the same day as the bagels that I've posted about before).
And now I am foraying even further into the vast world of Bread.
With these pumpkin scrolls I found randomly somehow on Actually, they are called Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls but to me they are scrolls. I've always called this type of thing scrolls. I opted out of the rum icing, because I had no rum (and whiskey would not suffice this time) and I don't really like icing. *get's shot by fellow bloggers* Besides, this bread is so sweet and so moist and so delicious it doesn't need any. When I make these at Christmas I'll probably put some on, you know, for presentation.
These are surprisingly easy to make. I only made a few substitutions: wholemeal plain flour + 1 tbsp gluten flour for the All Purpose, and rice syrup for the barley malt syrup.

These turned out so soft and like something you'd buy at a bakery. It tastes and has a texture like it was made with soft white flour. They taste to me like a perfect hot cross bun - I might even use this recipe for my buns next Easter. No one will notice they are orange...or they could just be pumpkin hot cross buns! They are sticky - I don't know how I'm going to manage one at work tomorrow, but we shall see.

So this is what I do when I chuck a sickie have a mental health day. Tell ya what, this business of breadmaking is very relaxing.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Homemade bagels!

You know, I don't know if I've ever eaten a storebought bagel before, but the idea of making my own has always been attractive...I'm just fairly lazy. I mean, they look like doughnuts but you put stuff like cream cheese on it. Or marmite. Mmm. All bagel recipes seem to be pretty much the same, but here is what I did.

Whole wheat bagels
Makes 8 smallish bagels


3 cups wholemeal plain flour (I use organic stoneground w/m plain flour, I buy it in bulk for $3.50/kg)
1 tbsp gluten flour
3 tbsp raw sugar
1 1/2 tsp dry yeast (instant)
1 tsp salt
1 cup warm water (I actually use a candy thermometer to check - 100 degrees F)


Mix together flour, gluten, yeast and salt in a med-large mixing bowl. Stir 1 tbsp sugar into the cup of warm water. Add water to flour mixture and stir until a dough forms.

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes or until smooth. Put in an oiled bowl and let rise in a warm place for an hour. (I always turn my oven on for a few seconds, then turn it off and put it in there).

Meanwhile, fill a stock pot with water and stir in the remaining sugar. Bring to a boil when dough has risen.

Divide dough into 8 pieces, and knead lightly. Poke a hole through the middle and make into smooth bagel shape. Let rest in warm place for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.

Once water is boiling,  drop bagels in about 3 at a time (or however many fit in your pot) and boil for 30 secs, flip, and boil for another 30 secs. Drain.

Once all bagels have been boiled, put on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake for about 10 minutes (check after this to make sure - my oven is gas powered and dodgy).
Remoe from oven and cool on a wire rack. I hope that all makes sense. I'm so tired I've lost my eyes.

Serve with whatever you like to eat on bagels! I first put peanut butter and rice syrup on mine, then tried one with plain ol' nuttlex. Both awesome. Next time I'm going to make at least a double batch so I can freeze them. or eat all of them at once. The flour I buy makes everything so smooth. I first found it at Mrs Flannery's (and it made me realise that the white wings wholemeal flour may be unbleached, but it isn't actually a whole's white with bran mixed through.) But found it at a local bulk food shop for much cheaper.
Bob is a laydee.

And I am very sad. I left the plate I used in the top photo on the arm of the couch...and Charlee broke it :(.