It’s finally here!! I can’t remember if I’ve been sneaky or not about this ebook (which is possibly another layer of ninja if I can hide even that from myself) but I’ve finished and it’s all yours for free and it’s 100% dedicated to my food mistress: chocolate. No matter how busy I get or how lazy, there’s always time in the day for a nibble on something chocolate-y. I may have something of an addiction, but I’ve decided to make a total chocolate cleanse for myself….with chocolate. And since it’s free, you can “cleanse” with me! 😀 Continue reading
Crazy food time! Ok, maybe not so crazy, because there’s falafel involved and that’s pretty much what most people want out of life (or at least in their stomachs). I figured I’d be a bit indulgent and faff around with some of my favourite ingredients and put the “protein” question six feet under because there is no mistaking this for a protein party and a celebration of lovely wholesome ingredients! 😀I’m also sharing this over at Healthy Vegan Fridays – go have a look at all the deliciousness! 😀
I have a bit of a thing for chickpea flour quiches, and this is just a celebration of that with a really fun topping that can be made gluten-free with one small change 😀 Best of all, this is such a super easy recipe and just requires one bowl! Welcome to my protein-packed Sunday supper 😀
I’m not sure if it’s specific to South Africa, but there’s a rather nifty dish called pap tart – it’s a tart made with a maize meal and stuffed with all sorts of tid bits, mostly cheese and bacon. Since I’m rather obviously vegan, this would not do, but the idea of a stuffed savoury tart was too good to pass up on the cusp of the weekend when laziness is bound to set in, or if you need a meal to fuel you as you prance about your business.
A while back I arranged through my super kind FIL to book us a little holiday near the Sudwala Caves for this long weekend, and since day one my mind has been reeling, making menus and trying to be creative with little success. Unfortunately eating out is impractical since there usually isn’t much on the menu to modify outside of dry toast or cheese-less pizza, neither of which is healthiest of choices! So to be prepared for all things, I wrote it all down. What you see below is the “final cut” condensed list. I purposely threw away the other notes, because I ended up with 10 (!!) A4 pages filled top to bottom, along with countless other little scraps of paper and some scribblings in my work diary.
Obsessed? Yes. I can’t help it when an opportunity presents itself to think of food in transit, in situations and in memories. We plan to go spelunking in the caves (well, exploring), visiting a dinosaur park, and taking long walks around the estate. All in all such moments require sustenance. Nothing better than some wraps, hummus, carrot-beetballs and dal to tide one over so far from home! Continue reading
So I’ve decided to go large and start sharing my recipes across the web. My first attempt was a hit! I got my banana + carrot tahini buckwheat scones accepted onto Foodgawker, which I consider to be a massive privilege considering the amazing quality of photos on their website (which has certainly kept me very, very busy for many an hour!). Of course, bolstered by success, I submitted some more, only to have a trail of rejections, but I’m actually not fussed because hurrah for constructive feedback! It’s things like this that help one to learn about the intricacies of presenting and plating food, and then how you take the photo as well. Distance, depth…it’s like looking through a kaleidoscope by the end of it; there’s never just a vegan burger or sweet treat on a plate; the cutlery is either antique or placed invitingly, the space is wide, so as not to overcrowd the big juicy salad on the side…lah!
My second bit of big news is that I won a wonderful bunch of goodies from NuNaturals, thanks to gracious and lovely Ann’s giveaway over at Unrefined Vegan! 😀 I am so beyond psyched because the lucky packet includes a whole lot of stevia powder *and* liquid stevia *and* oat fibre…yum! I’m already plotting and making furious sketches and notes as to what I can possible make with all my bounty! 😀 Seriously, the blogging community is such an amazing living creature – one gets to meet fascinating people, share experiences and recipes, gawk and drool at amazing food and presentation…it really hits all my visual and communicative spots.
In order to celebrate my amazing good fortune I decided to revisit one of my favourite indulgences – pastry! I made one of these on Wednesday after presenting my second paper at the Master’s class and felt I needed a treat in the house for Man-thing and I both. Tonight is date night (can you believe it!). With all our work obligations, studies and general life circumstances, it’s easy to lose touch with one’s companion, so we have to set aside time to just be in each other’s presence consciously. So yes, I thought to spoil us with a pastry each (well, half for me with a big, dashing salad) and some steamed veggies. I love the comforting elements of the pastry with warm, flavourful insides. Pure bliss and actually quite easy to make, all things considered). Considering the on-off drizzly weather that just demands cuddling and warm things to eat, we’ve decided to set up downstairs today and bring the laptops with us to watch a movie or two on the couch like real adults. What could be better?
This morning was baking busy-ness! Woke up early to make some baked chickpea pancakes with shredded zucchini and carrot, then another plum and strawberry cobbler…and then this! Except “this” is not so simple. It started off with lots and lots of excess red cabbage from our soup making, so I decided to try out my hand at making a caramelized onion and (red) cabbage sauce. Fail. Or rather, tasty, but too purple for Man-thing’s tastes. He took a snuff of the final product and admitted it was too pungent for his fair senses. Alas. So I decided to press out some tofu, make a dough and make a gorgeous purple tart! I love colour in my food, so this was lots of glee to bring together (need to think about what I can make blue >:)).
For the crust I used this recipe, subbing the olive oil for canola (used whatever was closest!). Baked it at 180 Celsius for 10 minutes after poking some holes about, then filled it up with:
– 1 cup of the cabbage onion sauce
– 1 tub Nature’s choice tofu
– 200g shredded zucchini
– 2 TBSP soy milk
– topped with slices of cherry tomatoes for garnish
Baked for 35-40 minutes -nom and nom!
Glee! This is my first time using a scalloped tart pan. I have to be honest and admit that when I bought it close to a year ago I had no idea that the bottom was supposed to come apart, so I swore rather heavily about what a piece of bleep I had bought. When we last watched Master Chef when house-sitting for the in-laws, however, I happened to see that, durr, it should do that so that you can easily remove the tart from the baking tin. Well, lessons learnt! Nothing quite like feeling like a moron in the kitchen, but it’s something I should get used to it seems!
It really tastes divine! The strong cabbage-y onion taste and smell from the sauce is mellowed out significantly by the tofu, and one gets a lovely bite and textured flavour out of it.
When it comes to tofu quiches, one can actually add anything, in fact. Spinach, peppers, the lot! I like the fact that the innards are solid, but I assume a more creamy tofu would also work well. Either way, I’m rather delighted that I managed to make something of my sauce! I suspect that, did our blender actually work as other blenders do, my sauce would have been much more fluid and would have been quite interesting over a pasta, but I prefer it like this!
My one sadness? The crust is rather hard – not inedible, just very difficult to cut. When one takes a big bite you notice the crust as much as you do the innards, and to my mind a crust should always be the sidekick (despite my many crust photos in this and other posts!). I suspect a creamier innard would perhaps soak into the crust and make it softer? Any advice would be welcome 😀 Nevertheless, this is easy, fun, and, best of all, PURPLE! Man-thing really likes it, and ate two slices rather chop-chop. Sitting at approximately 160kcal a slice, I would happily pair this with a summer soup or with a nommy leafy salad.
In fact, I’m going to put some in my lunchbox for tomorrow, just so I can see everyone’s faces in the tea room >:) I love freaking people out with my strange concoctions, and even one slice is very filling, high in protein, and a decent enough amount of fibre if one uses nutty wheat flour. Nom!
Today’s mission was rather giddy-fying: we got a voucher for a big distributor of all things (macro), so we finally organized a day to bounce of with my sister in law and go wild. With our bounty we got new headphones for me, usb mouse for man-thing, a small fan for the study, and, best of all, an ICE-CREAM MAKER!!! 😀 It’s a little number, but it will get its own post and everything in due course. Man-thing was so excited that he’s already washed the thing and put it in the freezer to pre-set in anticipation for making ice-cream tomorrow. Anything where a man will willingly read instructions for a kitchen appliance and pack cupboards right to create a “place of honour” must be magical. I suspect this ice-cream maker will be the beginning of dangerous but lovely things!
Speaking of dangerous and lovely, I finally got my act (and ingredients) together and made my very first dumplings! The recipe for the veggie dumpling stew comes from Vegan Mother Hubbard, and to be honest I found no cause to differ much from her recipe, other than to replace the potatoes with chopped up pumpkin. The sweet potato remained since I’m having trouble using up our little packet! The other change was to use nutty wheat bran flour instead of white flour, because I’m crazy for that stuff – white flour just doesn’t sit well with me and also makes man-thing sluggish.
I must say the whole idea of making dumplings was so nerve-wrecking, so that alone was the reason why I’ve been procrastinating on making it, whilst at the same time stalking the poor author with tons of useless and crazy questions. Still, this food is me with my adventure hat on!
Man-thing has proclaimed complete success regarding this recipe – he suggests two dumplings per person (I got 8 out of my batch), but that may just be because he went for seconds. I was very happy with one beautiful dumpling with lots of spinach and mixed with leftover soup (since I have no shame and smushing together my foods).
Speaking of soup, I made some whilst waiting for the dumplings to do their thing! We got a big bag of farm-fresh tomatoes and little store-bought baby tomatoes (those things are like candy!) so I decided to do something a bit more long-serving than just envisaging endless tomato salads.
– 1 onion, chopped/diced
– 6-7 tomatoes, chopped/diced
– 1/2 head of broccoli, steamed then processed into a fine “flour” (man-thing claims to loathe broccoli and cauliflower, but he ate THREE slices of my cauliflower pie today, so I figured what he can’t see clearly can’t hurt him >:))
– 1 green pepper, diced
– 3/4 cup brown lentils, washed and drained
– 3 cups water, boiled
– 1 Knorr vegetable stock cube, dissolved in the above water
– 1 small tub (3 or so TBSP) tomato paste
– 2-3 TBSP digestive bran (I find it helps as a type of minimalist binder)
– anything else! I added some leftover soup that was hellishly spicy (hence the green bits floating around)
– spices galore!
Fry the onion in a big pot til it starts to brown somewhat. Add in the tomatoes, lentils and water and let it boil.
Bring it down to a simmer, add the tomato paste, spices, pepper, broccoli, digestive bran and whatever else and let it go wild for an hour or so, stirring at half hour intervals. Quick, easy, voila!
I can recall lazy days in the past when making soup would’ve felt time consuming, but because of the lack of endless chopping multiple ingredients, it comes off pretty easy. So easy, in fact, that I decided I had time to also make some mini tofu quiches with leftover broccoli fluff, 100g mushrooms, 2 marrows and tomato paste added to the usual suspects. I also added 2 TBSP of oat bran instead of more cornstarch. Over time I’ve learned that pressing out as much water as possible from the tofu is the key to mini quiches that don’t fall apart! I also flip them after baking for 35 minutes and let them bake for 10 more minutes to get rid of excess moisture (hence the uber crispness on the side).
Phew! Tomorrow is another day, another baking mission! I must desperately do my best to stay out of the kitchen between now and then :p
Phew! Woke up to glorious rain this morning, so decided it was good enough to start cooking and baking at 07h00. I’ve been soaking cashews in chai tea for a few hours now, but it’s amazing how something like that can escalate into hours of standing and keeping busy.
First I made another one of these delicious muffins from over at My Inspiration. I left out the cranberries and cornflour, and usual subbed the syrup, and the marg with 1 banana and 1 TBSP coconut oil. I also added a lemon’s worth of zest for spritz. I also stretched the recipe to make 8 small muffins (much to man-thing’s disgust), because that way there’s always more for later 😀
Topped with almond butter and the YUMMY vegan lemon curd I made yesterday. SO intense and flavourful, especially with the zest in the muffin itself. Just look at that muffin! Squishy, soft….NOMMMM.
Oh, what’s that on the side, you ask?
My first roasted eggplant! It was actually so easy I had to take pause. Sliced the buggers up, soaked them in salty water (not sure if that actually does anything, but heard something about them being too bitter otherwise) and sprayed some baking paper. Less than half an hour makes magic. I ate a few slices just like that.
So, what did this lead to?
Eggplant paté! 😀
1 eggplant, roasted & sliced
1 TBSP tahni
2 TBSP lemon juice
spices (lots of the red stuff!)
Is there any better tea time snack? Oh nay! Especially if accompanied by the below.
ice-cream lemon curd tarlets! (makes 11)
1 cup dates (I soaked these in boiling water for an hour or so to ensure maximum smoothness)
1 cup walnuts
1/2 TBSP coconut oil
Lemon curd ice-cream
1/2 cup cubed papaya
Each tartlet takes about 1 TBSP lemon curd, but I’m sure you could squeeze in 2 TBSP if you’re a tad more delicate than I am.
I then took the leftover date juice from soaking and make a chia egg, which I drizzled on top. Popped these suckers (very inelegantly) in some paper muffin liners and froze them.
Man-thing has been popping these into his mouth non-stop, so much so that he asked how many I needed for my photos so that he could eat the rest! :p
Well, I also make baked pumpkin and asparagus curry, and am waiting to make matcha frosting for the rest of the little muffins…but I think I need a holiday!
So excited to stock up on protein foods now that we’re taking our practise walks a little more seriously (In anticipation for the 8km walk on the 24th). In retrospect I realize that 8km isn’t all that long, nor that hardcore, but for former blobs of inactivity such as myself it is a milestone of note. I barely used to be able to walk a block without huffing and wheezing, so I’m hoping to keep this up and get back into jogging once my legs stop crying out in pain. :p
To be smart about the whole thing I decided to make a batch or two of beetballs, as dreamed up by fatfreevegan, since they contain all sorts of protein goodies such as quinoa and chickpeas (though I used cannelloni since I didn’t have the other, but same difference!). I also didn’t have onion after the first batch, nor mushrooms to spare, so I used 3 zucchini and 4 mini eggplants (though I could barely fit everything into my food processor!). I also made a patty each for man-thing and myself, and baked the lot for closer to 40 minutes to try and get some crisipiness to them. Either way, delicious and healthy! One can easily smush them down onto a piece of rye or plop them in soup (as I did tonight). I also just randomly open the fridge and munch of them.
I won’t bore you with the tens of photos I took of raw beets, because that’s just my flavour of geekery, but these are truly yummy, bladdy easy to make, and rather cheap!
One can easily spot the quinoa, which is made of win, and is like vegan caviar. Loveliness! I used a tad too much cayenne in the first bunch, so I’m going to go buy tomato sauce tomorrow to spoil us and to balance it out, but slivering some avocado on top…oh man. These beets are going places, starting with my stomach. A serving is 5 of these, and that’s quite a lot and very filling.
Next, I was trolling around for quiche recipes, and although I have tofu in my fridge (and freezer…gah!), I wasn’t in the mood to fool around with pressing out water and all that, and then I came across this delightfully delicious recipe by Sprint 2 the Table. It says it’s a Mexican crustless quiche, but since I don’t have spicy peppers, tomatoes, or onion in the house, I subbed that stuff for an extra bell pepper, some zucchini and some baby eggplant (are you sensing a theme?). Man-thing dreads eggplant, but that’s to bad, because I think it is delightful, and half the time one can’t tell it’s there anywhere (“but I *know* it is”, says he!). Either way, the crust on this recipe is what sold me. I went out and bought some chickpea flour today, and put aside my prejudice of dodgy flours. The doc said I must go gluten-free, so amid lots of scoffing I bought some soya flour and almond flour, alongside the brown rice flour I’ve been spelunking into my banana breads and stuff.
I just had so much fun with this flour! So different from my standard nutty wheat – once I got started I understood how on earth the recipe dared asked me to mix the veggies and flour mixture and bake it together (this is what blew my mind and made me determined to test it out, because honestly, what whacky tricks was I being roped into?). I suspect the floury stuff sinks to the bottom after making everything around it delicious. Anyway! Below is the frothy mixture I got, just like the recipe said! I’m always disgustingly pleased when the descriptions match the reality.
ANYWAY, I’m sure you’re not hear to read about foam. No Sir. You are here to see crust, if you are any species of sane.
I’m rather mean, so above are the squishy innards, with a hint of crust. Look at how delicious that looks! And it’s all baked chickpea flour stuff! AND the top looks like cheese or something magical…how much better can it get?? At the last moment I threw on a small handful of cranberries before baking, and they made a dreamy addition, so next time I’ll add more, or some raisins, to give moments of sweet bliss on the tongue.
*glee* it makes its own crust on the side!! That’s my one beef with crustless tofu quiches – nothing to bite on but mushed veggies – this has what it takes to be a solid vegan quiche. I’ll still try my mini vegan tofu quiches for snacks, but if I were to serve anything to guests in this class of eats it would be this recipe. One can do anything, add anything (especially spices!).
Anyhow, I’ve made this with the idea that it’s my new teatime meal. I get very hungry at work and low blood pressure and lack of snack makes for a cranky marfigs, so I figured I’d be smart about the whole thing and not rely on rye and peanut butter sandwiches for eternity (though they are bladdy tasty). At 175+- cals per slice, that’s not too bad at all! *skips off*