Thursday, 30 September 2010

Just a quick post

I made vegan cheese!

Okay, it's a little too garlicky and salty, but it definitely tastes like cheese.  I have ideas, to use proper powdered agar gar to solidify it, leave out some ingredients to make it mild like marscapone, leave out the garlic salt to make it taste like cream cheese...

It's really good with broccoli and pasta, too.  Yeah, I ate broccoli.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Kali's ongoing effort to eat more vegetables

So, I cooked yesterday.  I made roast potatoes with steamed broccoli and baby corn, and boiled runner beans (from the plant, which I'm told is an important distinction, by my grandmother, who cooked them), with slices of seitan.  And I ate it.  Okay, I had to cover the broccoli in gravy, and I left some of it, but I ate it.  The corn was okay, too.  I'm not yet at the point where it's yummy, but it's certainly edible.

My grandmother made the runner beans.  Again, edible, but I think I can see what people mean when they say steaming is better than boiling.

I'm quite impatient to make vegan mozarella and cheese sauce.  I want macaroni cheese with broccoli and/or cauliflower, and baked ziti!  I'm fairly sure I can microwave those, so they can go in lunch boxes, too.

For that, I need some extra silken tofu, rice vinegar, and agar.  Oh, and some pasta sauce.  At least two of those I can get from tesco.  Tomorrow, I'll have a look at the vegan food shop on Allison Street (which, it turns out, is in the same building as the Warehouse Cafe), and see if they stock silken tofu.

The other thing I wanted to try is the root vegetable mash from Cook Yourself Thin (it is surprisingly not frustrating, watching cooking shows as a vegan).  I'd make a few obvious changes - maybe cook it in water, or soy milk, and use soy margarine, obviously - but it would be interesting.  My grandmother also picked up some parsnips, which channel 4 tells me can be mashed with potatoes.  That one looks nice.

I tend to get sugar cravings throughout the day, and they tend to go together.  For instance, if I have chocolate, I want coke.  I haven't really had those today, despite having two slices of (vegan) chocolate cake.

My idea of trying to eat a fruit or vegetable at every meal is going well.  To be honest, on days when I'm not working, I don't really do meals, just snacks, but I've eaten a lot of apples and bananas, and drunk some orange juice.  I'll go have a seitan, lettuce, and baby spinach sandwich in a minute.  I actually like those, which is surprising to me.

Friday, 24 September 2010


I'm finding it hard living without cheese, on vegan days.  So today I researched some alternatives.

Looking at recipes, it seems like nutritional yeast flakes are used in vegan cheese sauces, so I ordered some of them from  I also got a rice milk chocolate bar (apart from the P&P and the hassle of ordering them online, they're pretty competitively priced) and some vegan marshmallows.  I have a Plan, involving those last two items, some kebab sticks, a microwave, and some strawberries.

When I get the yeast flakes, I'm going to try a form of vegan macaroni cheese.  Most of the recipes are similar, so I won't post a specific one until I do it.

A few days ago, I made a vegan Sunday lunch.  Slices of seitan with gravy (made from granules, which are vegan, I checked), and mashed potato with salt and soy margarine.  Next time, I'll include some steamed vegetables, and maybe, if I can be bothered, make some vegan yorkshire puddings.  We'll see.  It was good, anyway.

Most of my meals don't include vegetables.  I wasn't raised that way, so I'm having to train myself into the habit.  I'm aiming to have some form of vegetable with every meal, and slowly increase the amount.  So, for breakfast, I had oatmeal with soy milk, golden syrup, and chopped strawberries.  Now, I'm snacking on a seitan sandwich with baby spinach leaves and an apple.  I really want to perfect tempura.  I've never liked corn before, but those baby corns were absolutely delicious.  I'll try some steamed, but I really want them deep fried in batter.

I find myself eating a lot of carbs.  I'm not putting on weight, because my diet is normally like that, but I'd like to change it.  So we'll see how the veggies go.  I've also found that most bread doesn't have eggs or milk products, so I've found myself snacking on that, a lot.

Apparently, the Canadian guidelines indicate that adults should enjoy 6-7 portions of fruit and veg a day, 5-6 portions of grain, 1-2 portions of milk or milk substitutes, and 1-2 portions of meat and meat substitutes (if I recall correctly).  I'd like to aim for that.

I'm also trying to drink a lot more water.  I have very dry skin, so it will help with that, too.

I want some vegan mozzarella.  I want to make vegan ziti.  My version will involve baking cooked pasta in sauce (probably tesco's own brand sauce), and covering it in some form of mozzarella.  In a pinch, I can use the macaroni sauce.  I'm also thinking of putting slices of seitan on a hot-dog bun and covering it with the cheese sauce.  I can also use that sauce as lasagne sauce.

I've found that there's a vegan food store on Allison Street, in Digbeth (Birmingham).  I've got a suspicion that it's in the same building as the Warehouse Cafe (which serves vegan and vegetarian food).  I'll take a look when I've got some spare time.

Well, I say that, but I still haven't found time to check out Holland and Barrett.

I also heard about a restaurant called Jyoti, which serves vegetarian food, caters generously to vegans, and is based around Gujerati food.  My father's family are from Gujerat, so I confess to having some interest in checking it out for that reason alone.

Most recipes out there are US-centric.  I found a recipe for vegan mozarella, and one ingredient that lots of people seem to have trouble finding is MimicCreme.  Apparently, you can make a substitute using cashew nuts and water.  Might be worth a try, if I can get my blender to pound them properly.  Apparently, sainsburys is quite good for stocking tofu.  I'm not sure about agar flakes, but I can get rice vinegar from tesco.  I could probably do with getting a new bottle of garlic powder, mine is pretty old.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Nuts in Order of Protein Content

First to last, information taken from here.  All totals per 100g.

Peanuts - 24.3g
Pistachios - 19.3g
Cashews - 17.2g
Almonds - 16.9g
Pine Nuts - 14g
Brazil Nuts - 12g
Walnuts - 10.6g
Pecan - 9.2g
Hazelnuts - 7.6g 
Macadamia -7g
Coconut (dessicated) - 5.6g
Coconut (fresh) - 3.2g
Chestnuts - 2g

Of course, nuts don't contain complete proteins, so you do need to be getting some from other sources, such as vegetables, legumes, or grains.

There's a rough guide to calculating your protein requirement here, with charts here.  According to those, as a twenty-two-year-old female, with a middling active life, I need between 46-55g a day, which is quite a variation.  Other sources will also offer slightly different amounts.  The higher score came from the calculation, which is generic to males and females, while the lower one is from the female charts.


D'you know what really ticks me off?  Those vegans who are really evangelical about it.

I've been reading Living Vegan for Dummies, by Alexandra Jamieson.  To be fair, it does have some useful information in it, although it's all very US-centric.  But, the first two chapters are mostly devoted to how utterly fabulous and moral us vegans are, and let's laugh and patronise the silly omnivores who don't understand, and oh noooooo, we can't use the same utensils, because we're so moral and cruelty-free!

She makes me want to sacrifice a chicken.

Okay, I am saving the moo-cows and the cluckclucks.  I don't need a bloody parade.

Choco-Banana Protein Shake

This is the most delicious thing ever.  I adapted the recipe from here, and their version has nutritional information as follows;

Calories: 348; Calories from Fat: 120
% Recommended Daily Value:
Total Fat: 13.4g, 21%
Saturated Fat: 2.6g, 13%; Trans Fat: 0.0g
Cholesterol: 0mg, 0%
Sodium: 130mg, 5%
Total Carbohydrates: 50.9g, 17%
Dietary Fiber: 6.7g, 27%
Sugars: 25.2g
Protein: 12.9g
Vitamin A 2%, Vitamin C 17%, Calcium 8%, Iron 21%

I made a few adaptations to their recipe, mostly through lack of ingredients.  My version was;

1 cup soy milk
1 banana
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 tbsp fructose
2 tbsp walnuts

All blended together.

This tasted good, but it's nowhere near as protein-y as the original, which used cashew nuts.  As you can see here, cashew nuts have almost twice the protein of walnuts.  I only replaced them because I have no patience and no cashew nuts.  This version will also be fattier, as that's the other notable thing about walnuts.

I found that all the varieties of sweetened cocoa powder I looked at also had whey powder in them, so I used my unsweetened variety (Bournville), with half as much fructose (fruit sugar - it's pretty easy to find, it's made by Tate and Lyle).  I'd really like to start using agave in cooking, I'm just having trouble finding it.

I started by putting everything in the blender and blending.  I think it would be better to start by putting in the bananas and nuts, and blending those alone before adding the powders and liquids, as my version still has whole walnuts at the bottom.

Edit; A few weeks ago, I made a version which used half a cup of strawberries and raspberries instead of the cocoa powder.  That was pretty good.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010


Sorry about the lack of updates here - it's been a busy few weeks.

At the moment, I'm vegan on three days of the week, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.  I have several ideas for various lunchbox items, but I haven't quite gotten around to preparing them yet, so, on those days, I've been limited to eating fries on my break. I have, however, been making green smoothies which are really quite delicious, although I need to get a greater variety of greens to put in.

I'm slowly training myself into liking vegetables more.  I'm now very happy to have lettuce and baby spinach on cheese sandwiches, and, in the next few days, I'll be baking my own bread, making seitan, and buying some form of vegan margarine, once I've had a look at what's out there.  Then that item will be vegan.  I'll also post about each recipe as I make them.

I must confess that I'm currently eating a lot of carbs on vegan days.  I generally start off with oatmeal, and have fries and ready salted crisps.  This Isn't Good.  I'm working a lot less next week (as in, down from seven days to one) so I'll be able to make and freeze more options that can be prepared quickly.

I've also discovered people like Chloe Coscarelli and Vegan Dad, who list a number of great recipes on their blogs.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010


I spent some time browsing vegan cookbooks in Waterstones this morning, to get an idea of what I'm letting myself in for.  Surprisingly, it doesn't seem too bad.

What I'll miss most, I suspect, are desserts.  Yummy little things with whipped cream, and chocolate.  Cheesecake.  Ice cream.  Giving up meat wasn't too bad, but giving up those things will hurt.

So, I was quite pleased to find books like Cathe Olson's 'Lick It' and Sharon Valencik's Sweet Utopia.  There are also a number of books with recipes for vegan cupcakes, which is handy, since I like baking (there were so many that I didn't bother to note down any titles, especially since there are blogs out there too).

A few other books that looked interesting were Devra Gartenstein's The Accidental Vegan and Lauren Ulm's Vegan Yum-Yum (if I recall correctly, that was the one with the vegan worcestershire sauce recipe).  Ulm's blog can be found here.

I also found Living Vegan for Dummies, which was exactly the kind of guide I wanted to read (I presume - I haven't read it yet).  I borrowed that one from the library, where it was under health, rather than cookbooks.
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