Friday, 18 February 2011

What I've Been Up To

Well, let's see. I started taking Krav Maga classes, and I'm working on my coursework (which I am behind on).  I went to the opening of KPL, a Vegan cafe in King's Heath (pictures to follow later), and I've been doing some geocaching  I've also been counting calories for a few weeks now, and trying to lower my body fat percentage, which is why there have been less recipes.  (The typo in my username there is on purpose).

Finally, I've also entered BRMB's Walkathon, to raise money to rebuild the Emergency Department of the Birmingham Children's Hospital.  Still haven't figured out how I'm going to train for that, but, rest assured, I'll get it done.  And when I've perfected my recipe for peanut butter oat and raisin bars - which, I figure, will make a great snack while walking - I'll post that up.

I had an excellent valentines day, involving a chocolate cherry fudge cake, stockings, a collar, a wander round vegan shops, lots of roundhouse kicks, and a rather nice scouser.  Also, some geocaching.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Tofu Bacon, Spinach and Tomato Sandwich

...we were out of lettuce, and I prefer baby spinach leaves anyway.  They taste less watery, and have a nicer texture, I think.  The 'bacon' is hereafter known as 'facon', so as not to confuse people.

Ingredients (for veggie bacon)

Approximately 100g of Firm Tofu
2 Tsp Soy Sauce
1 Tsp Nutritional Yeast

1.  Press the tofu to get the water out.  I do this by putting two paper towels on a plate, putting the tofu on it, then adding another two and some kind of weight (in this case, my Vitalite dairy-free margarine).  I had this stuff pressing since last night, since I knew I would use it today, but you don't need that much time really.  Cut the tofu into strips.

2.  Fry the strips of tofu on medium heat in a tablespoon of vegetable oil (don't use a strongly flavoured oil, like olive, for this).  Leave it sizzling on one side for 5-10 minutes, then flip, and give it the same amount of time on the other side.  You want it to be browned and crispy.  The longer it's been pressing, the quicker it will cook, but don't worry if it burns a bit, it just adds verisimilitude to the facon.

3.  Take the pan off the heat, and add the soy sauce and nutritional yeast.  Give it a stir with a spatula to coat the pieces in the mixture, then put it back on the heat and give it a quick fry for about a minute, just to make sure it's still crisp (it can go soft when you add the liquid).

Ignore how it looks, focus on the taste!

Et voila.  As mentioned, I had mine loaded up with a sliced tomato and a handful of baby spinach leaves, but you can eat it however you like.  Trust me, it really does taste like bacon.

I got the recipe from here, but I couldn't find any liquid smoke (didn't look, to be honest, was tired).  Oh, and I really didn't want to make an entire pound of facon.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Cheat's Baby Spinach and Sheese Pasta Salad

I'd never had pasta salad before the other day. I was looking for new lunch ideas to take to work, preferably cold ones, since my bento box isn't microwavable, and the idea of a cold pasta salad seemed like it would work.  I looked up a few recipes, but they all seemed kind of complicated, so I just made one up.

That is, 50g (dry-weight) whole-wheat fusilli, mixed with a handful of baby spinach leaves, and 10g of chopped Mature Cheddar-style Sheese.  It tastes pretty good, and it took hardly any time in the morning - I had the pasta on while I was making pancakes, and it took like ten seconds to add the Sheese and baby spinach.

Single-Serving Pancakes

I found the recipe for these pancakes here, and they came out awesome. Especially with a tablespoon of maple-flavoured golden syrup.

It's also really simple.  Score! Oh, and, as the name suggests, it's a serving for one person.


1/3 Cup of Plain Flour
1/3 Cup of Water
1 Tsp Sugar
1 Tsp Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp Walnut Oil (you can use any kind, really).
Dash of Salt.
A few drops of flavouring (optional - I used almond extract).

1.  Mix all the ingredients together in a measuring jug, and leave to sit for ten minutes.
2.  Using a frying pan on medium heat, cook the pancakes.  I made silver-dollar pancakes - that is, pancakes about 3 inches across.  They look cuter. You can make bigger ones, though.

Perfectly edible, but on the pale side.  This was the first one, and my frying pan wasn't fully heated.

These cook pretty quick.  You should see the top start to bubble, and then you flip.  It should be nicely browned underneath.  If it's pale, turn the heat up, if it's dark, turn it down.

You could add in blueberries, or replace the water with soy or rice milk, or add in cocoa powder, or top them with Worthenshaws or even add a teaspoon of ground flaxseed into the batter for the omega 3s and 6s.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Vegan Chocolate Biscuit Things

This is what I'm calling them.

This recipe is adapted from one that appeared in the latest newsletter of the Birmingham Vegetarians and Vegans group. I mostly just added the almonds and specified which kinds of chocolate and margarine to use to make it vegan.


Empty wrapper.  Couldn't help myself.
8oz Rich Tea Biscuits (I used the cheap kind from Tesco, but I hear the cheap ones from Asda are vegan too).
4oz Margarine (I used Vitalite dairy-free spread).
2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder (Bournville is vegan)
1 Tablespoon Golden Syrup
60-100g of Chocolate (I used two rice-milk chocolate bars, from Tesco's free-from range, which came to 60g, but a bit more would work too).
1/4 Cup of Flaked Almonds (and I apologise for mixing measurements there).

1. Crush the biscuits (this part is fun).  You could use a blender, but I just hit them, so my biscuits came out with larger bits in them.

 2. Over a gentle heat, melt together the margarine, cocoa powder, and golden syrup.

 3. Mix the biscuit crumbs in with the melted mixture.

4. Spread this mixture into a dish and press down firmly. Flatten the surface.

5. Melt chocolate (in a bowl inside another bowl filled with hot water), and spread over the top of the biscuit things.

6. Sprinkle the flaked almonds over the top.  Allow to cool a little (not in the fridge), and slice into pieces.  I went with sixteen.

You could make this even more decadent by using Bourbon biscuits instead of rich tea.  That would be interesting. You could add raisins, or replace some of the biscuit powder with powdered hazelnuts, or use walnuts on top instead of almonds.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Salad Dressing and Groups

I joined the Birmingham Veggies and Vegans group. Sadly, the meetings are normally on a Tuesday when I'm working, but I can make some of the other events. There's a Vegan Food Fayre in Coventry on the 26th of March, at St John the Baptist Church on Fleet Street, for instance, that I can almost definitely make. The info for that isn't online yet, as far as I can tell, but I'll keep an eye out.

Incidentally, there's also going to be a vegan event in Birmingham, on the High Street, right outside the Pavillions. Presumably, it'll be just outside Waterstones, where everything happens. According to that link, there'll be free food and a display about veganism.

I also joined a Coventry group, but we'll have to see how often I can make it up there for things.

On another note, I used to really like baked potatoes with chilli and cheese. I can veganise the chilli, but the cheese was proving difficult. However! A tablespoon of French salad dressing adds a lovely tang, without the greasiness of cheese. It's so good, seriously.
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