Saturday, 20 November 2010


Tescos sells a small range of vegan chocolate bars!  And, by small, I mean 'three', and two kinds of chocolate buttons.  But they are tasty, and cheap at 85p for the bars and 42p for the buttons.

Oh, idea!  I can add the buttons to my tofu cheesecake!  I always loved cheesecake at school, with its chocolate button on each slice.

Oooh.  They also have vegan whipping cream.   Also worth considering.

Finally, their own brand bourbon biscuits are only 42p, and are listed as being suitable for vegetarians.  The ingredients list seems vegan, but includes 'natural flavour', which I am suspicious of.

"Wheat Flour,Sugar ,Vegetable Oil ,Fat Reduced Cocoa Powder ,Glucose Syrup ,Dextrose ,Wheat Starch , Raising Agents (Ammonium Bicarbonate, Sodium Bicarbonate) ,Salt ,Natural Flavouring."

The only allergens listed are wheat, and that they're made in a nut-using factory.

I am in a cheesecake kind of mood.  But it's cold outside, and the Chinese supermarket is a bus journey and a walk away.

Also, the other day, I made another kind of peanut butter oat burger.  I highly reduced the peanut butter, but raised the marmite, which gave it a flame-grilled cheeseburger kind of taste.  I used cumin instead of caraway.  The only problem was, getting it all to mix in properly.

Also, David and I broke up.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Philosophy of Vegan Cooking

Taste, as perceived by us, is made up of the following basic tastes; salt, sour, sweet, bitter, and umami.  There's also mouthfeel.

I see no reason whatsoever why any or all of these cannot be replicated.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Thoughts on Peanut Butter Oat Burgers

I tried this recipe for lunch.  It's not my favourite.  I don't like the taste of the caraway seeds, and I find the peanut butter overpowering (I'm not the biggest fan of peanut butter).

However, the texture is fantastic.  I think I'll try tweaking it - lower the peanut butter down to one or two level tablespoons and up the marmite?  Cumin instead of caraway?

Incidentally, I tend to select seasonings by the smell.  If it smells right, I figure it'll taste right.  Caraway seeds smell like aniseed.  They also taste like aniseed.  I don't like aniseed.

While at work yesterday, I was thinking about food.  Specifically, how to recreate all of the good bits of the Purple Foodie's Oreo Cream Pie (creaminess, oreos, cheesecake-ness) with none of the bad bits (dairy products).  I love the Purple Foodie, but I wish she made more vegan dishes.  Her garlicky baked fries are perfect, but most everything else requires tweaking.  The challenge is fun, though.  I enjoy cooking so much more as a vegan than an omni.  I think because I'm forced to step out of my comfort zone. 

Anyway, cheesecake.

I know dark oreos (that is, those with a chocolate filling) are dairy-free in the US.  Unfortunately, that's not the case in the UK.  But, bournville biscuits are vegan (at least, one variety is - I haven't checked the others).  So that's the base sorted.  As for the filling...

My thoughts at  the moment are along the lines of hard tofu, blended, with icing sugar, and some biscuit crumbs in there.  Maybe a drop of rice wine vinegar to give it a mild cheesy tang.  Maybe some rice milk?  If it's too thin, I can thicken it like custard, by heating it and stirring in cornflour.  Maybe mix in some vanilla freedom (I am calling it that now), or coconut cream?  Vanilla essence/extract?  It might still be a tad thin, but I can probably get away with building the biscuit base up the sides as a pie case, and keeping it cold.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Cheat's "Roast" Potatoes


Potatoes - as much as you want to eat.  I find that one baking-potato-sized potato is good for two people
Oil (I use sunflower)
Seasonings - just salt is fine, but pepper and other things are good too.  I like my Garlic Italian spice, which is a mixture of nummy things.

  1. Cut the potato into pieces, and place into a microwave proof dish.  
  2. Pour some oil over, and season liberally.  Shake to coat.
  3. Cover with cling film, and microwave for three minutes.  If you don't poke holes in the clingfilm, it will do this terrifying vacuum-forming thing, but that shouldn't hurt the potatoes.  It is alarming, though.  
  4. Shake, add more seasoning if desired, and microwave for another three minutes.
  5. The potato pieces should be cooked through by now (try the stab test).  If they're not, just microwave a bit more.
  6. Fry pieces for a few minutes until crispy.  Don't add any more oil.  They may try to stick, so have a spatula handy to keep them in motion.

Also good as a snack (but so unhealthy...).  Try frying them with onions.  I haven't done that yet, but I bet it would be delicious.

You are a Gongedip

Title unrelated.

Yesterday was a Monday, so I could have been a vegetarian.  But, I didn't want to be.  I just stuck with veganism.  I'm vegan at work all the time now, because it's easier than explaining it every few days.

I went shopping yesterday.  There're a few recipes I want to try, for gingerbread and veggie burgers (which I will post when I've made them).  I also wanted to check out the "free from" aisle.  Plus, my Tesco clubcard vouchers had come through the post (though, god knows what I'll do with extra points on muffins, cookies, and doughnuts.  I can use the others, though).

I found that Tesco do an own-brand dairy-free chocolate bar.  It's made with rice milk, is 85p, and is delicious.  Also, Worthenshaw's Freedom Frozen Desserts are at 2 for £5 at the moment.  That's a bargain since they're normally £4.99.   I got two of the chocolate - they were out of strawberry, and the vanilla isn't my favourite.

Banana-Berry Muffins

The other day, I was reading this list of egg substitutes, which mentions using a 1/4 to 1/3 cup of mashed banana instead of an egg. That reminded me of this recipe, which I made as an omni. I decided to experiment.


150g (5oz) fresh or dried blueberries
100g (4oz) sugar (I used demerara)
100g (4oz) dairy-free margarine (I used Pure's sunflower oil spread)
300g (11oz) self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder
1 large banana, mashed (I used a potato masher)
1tsp vanilla extract
140ml (1/4 pint) milk

  1. Cream the butter and sugar.
  2. Add the mashed banana, and mix in.
  3. Add the milk and vanilla extract (it will look disgusting at this point).
  4. Fold in the flour, and add the blueberries.
  5. Spoon into cake cases and bake at gas mark 3 for half an hour. 
These are delicious.  They have a faint tang of banana, which is nice.

    Sunday, 14 November 2010

    Experimental Veggie Burgers

    Last night, David had the brilliant idea of making veggie burgers.  I showed him a few recipes I was intending to make - peanut butter oat, and mushroom steakhouse-style  - when I got around to getting the ingredients.  That second one, in particular, has a very difficult list.  David decided to make some out of whatever he had in the kitchen.

    My style of cooking is not terribly experimental.  Reason being, I am Clumsy, and things tend to come out weird.  I tend to follow recipes, and make a few different versions of the same item, to get an idea of how it works, before I think of making up my own thing.  Incidentally, this is also how I learned to come up with my own knitting and cross-stitch patterns - keep doing it, to see why other people's recipes include different things, and what the changes do, and once you know all that, it's easier to make up your own.

    David made the burgers out of blended chickpeas and chopped onion.  We added in a bit of sunflower oil and some of the water the chickpeas had come in, and some vegetable suet and flour to make them less sticky.  Then we added spices.

    The handy thing about this recipe is that is has a basically blank flavour pallete, so you can make up your own flavours.  We used salt and pepper, rosemary, and cumin, if I recall correctly.  Then we ate them with lettuce, sliced tomato, and fried onions.  They were delicious.

    I want to try this recipe again.  I think, next time, I'll simplify the measurements to one tin of chickpeas, and one sliced onion.  Maybe two tablespoons of oil, half a cup of vital wheat gluten, and a quarter cup of water?  I'll play with the spices too.  It'll taste a bit stronger, with the extra onion, but shouldn't be overpowering.

    I just looked at a few more recipes, and this black bean burger looks pretty good.  Simple, too.

    Saturday, 13 November 2010

    Sticky Toffee Pudding

    I accidentally made sticky toffee pudding the other day.  I was going for Christmas cake, but it came out all gooey and crumbly, so I poured some golden syrup on it, and ate it with a Freedom Frozen Dessert.

    Recipe is as follows;

    1 1/2 cups plain flour
    1 cup brown sugar
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 cup water
    1/2 cup vegetable oil
    1/8 cup vinegar of any kind
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1 teaspoon ground ginger
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

    1. Mix up the dry ingredients.
    2. Whisk together the wet ingredients and add to the dry ingredients.
    3. Bake at Gas Mark 4 for thirty minutes or so, or until a fork comes out clean.

    Goes really well with golden syrup.

    Sunday, 7 November 2010

    Changes I Didn't Expect

    I didn't really expect my thought processes to change.  I thought they'd stay exactly the same, and I'd just, eventually, stop craving the things I don't eat any more.  I thought watching cooking programs would be frustrating, since they contained so many dishes I couldn't make.  I didn't expect them to be interesting and then, swiftly, repulsive.

    Eating meat has become something that looks strange to me.  I feel like the cow in the picture, going "you eat what?!".  The entire process seems inhuman, in a more immediate way than it did before, and more horrific.

    At the same time, I could really go for a sausage mcmuffin.

    I flip between the two viewpoints rapidly, cycling through being, mentally, vegan, to being, again, mentally, omnivorous (and hungry).

    Being vegan has started to become difficult.  I'm now vegan every day except Monday and Thursday. Since I fell off the wagon last Tuesday, I spent Thursday as a vegan instead, so last week was my longest unbroken stint of veganism. Five days.  It started to hurt.

    I'd hoped that by doing it this way, I'd have an easier time of it, and the desire for animal products would slowly abate.  It turns out that it doesn't work that way.

    Today, I slept in, and skipped breakfast.  I ate three bananas and a tangerine, then, on my break, two hash browns, a quarter of a lettuce, tomato, and cucumber sandwich, and some onion rings.  When I got home I made myself a shicken (my nickname for chicken-flavoured seitan) sandwich with lettuce,  and had some ready salted crisps, and chocolate cake (Chloe Coscarelli's recipe again).  Not terribly healthy. Far too carby, lacking in calcium.  Probably a bit low on protein, too.  And not nearly enough food, but, tbh, I'm far more sleepy than I am hungry (hence the rambliness of this post).
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