Super Cheap Sweets: Mango Sorbet (Vegan MoFo 2018)

The second part of budget week is Super Cheap Sweets. If I’m doing budget afters it’s usually something like a couple of squares of dark chocolate or half a bunch of grapes. That’s not very photogenic though so I went to the supermarket to see what I could get for cheap.

Hello Mango! Back when I got my Vitamix I read somewhere that by blending equal parts frozen mango and fresh mango you can make a pretty decent mango sorbet. I cubed the mango and put a cup of it in the blender with a cup of frozen mango from the freezer and blended until smooth. It did make a pretty decent sorbet. Though it might have been better with a hint of citrus and a smidge of agave nectar.

Then the leftovers got fed to my Gloria Bird.

Pantry Meal: Meatballs (Vegan MoFo 2018)

I decided to make meatballs for my pantry meal. Not my usual meatballs (from Isa Does It) but something that doesn’t require anything out of the fridge. So I turned to Seitan and Beyond. The recipe in there is entirely Seitan and as I have dried herbs and spices on hand and I get vital wheat gluten on subscription from Amazon everything was in the pantry.

Of course a meal of meatballs would be… monotonous. Thankfully I also get tinned tomatoes on subscription from Amazon. We don’t drive so anything heavy that we use a lot of gets delivered now. So I made up some tomato sauce.

And what to put it on? Well we always have pasta. I like to buy pasta from the zero waste shop in Totnes or from the bulk bins at Real Food in Exeter. I know that the idea is that you can buy just what you need but I live so far away that I tend fill up a whole container and hope it lasts until my next trip.

How did the meal pan out then? Well, pretty badly as it turns out. The meatballs were not a success. They’re basically boiled seitan. Which means they’re quite soggy. And although I’m absolutely normal (yes, I am) I do have a few texture issues and this totally triggered them. I think in future I’ll stick to my tempeh meatballs or slices of the Seitan and Beyond Italian Sausage.

Free From Day: Milk for Everyone (Vegan MoFo 2018)

With a plethora of Vegan Milk in the market there is something for everyone. At the moment we offer oat, almond, soy and coconut at the coffee shop; at home I’ve played with a lot more and this is the sum of my wisdom.

Soy milk is the old classic. It has a distinctive taste that you either like or you don’t. It’s high in protein and often comes fortified with lots of loveliness. When it comes to making coffee it’s not the easiest to work with. It will turn into pure foam if you even look at it funny. A flat white with soy isn’t the easiest thing to make. Soy is also a common allergen.

When it comes to brands I don’t really have a recommendation. I find the cheap supermarket own brands to be the easiest to work with.

Almond milk has a nuttiness to it. That can be a plus. I think it’s great in a hot chocolate but you might not want it in your tea. Almond milk is low in calories. The one I have in my hand is 13 kcal. If you’re cooking with it it goes great in cheesy dishes. Almond is my favourite for a vegan mac. When it comes to steaming… it can be mixed. It’s not as eager to turn into a foam as soy but it’s not the easiest thing to work with either. And of course almond is another major allergen.

I like unsweetened milk from roasted almonds so I tend to go with Alpro or make my own if I’m at home.

Oat milk is by far my favourite to work with. And it preforms very similarly to diary milk so even baristas who are scared of nondairy milks should be able to use it. The special barista versions that we use are fairly high in calories (59kcal per 100ml) making it perfect for kids too. It’s also great for baking because of the relatively high sugar content compared to the other plant-based milks. It browns nicely. Most oat milks contain trace amounts of gluten, though we have found a brand without.

Minor Figures is my favourite, closely followed by Oatly Barista. For gluten free there is Oat Dreams.

There are, of course, milks I haven’t mentioned. Coconut milk is creamy and has a milk coconut taste that goes great in a chocolate milkshake. Hazelnut is beautiful in a hot chocolate. Buy you can milk almost any nut. These are just the ones that work for me.

Low Salt, Full Flavour (Vegan MoFo 2018)

I’m going to be a little controversial here and talk about my favourite salt brand on Low Salt Day (question: who else has a favourite salt brand?)

So our favourite salt brand is Cornish Sea Salt. A couple of months back we bought a packet of their seaweed and salt mix to try out. Partly to get more seaweed in our diet, partly to ease off a little salt. Kate’s a little worried about blood pressure. We’ve used the seaweed and salt mix in sauces and stuff where the extra umami was welcome. The plain seaweed flakes are amazing in stirfries. A little sprinkle for the extra flavour, especially with dishes that would traditionally have things like oyster or fish sauce. I love it.

Snacks Without Packaging

Sorry but I seriously need a break. At least for an hour or two. I need something savoury. There has been too much sweet in my life recently. So this is a savoury snack post. And when it comes to savoury snacks I’m obsessed with Jerky.

I can never resist a primal strip but today it’s all about going packaging free so I thought I’d make my own. I cooked up a batch of Tofu Jerky from Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites (title checks out); it’s delicious and saucy right now but after being left to cool it gets chewy and almost impossibly meaty.

I’ll be snacking on this until I can face cake again.

Spicy Without Chillies: Cooking for Kate (Vegan Mofo 2018)

So this is less ‘spicy without chillies’ and more ‘food without any hint of heat’ Kate can eat capsicums but she’ll complain a lot. When I’m cooking I have to adjust for her likes and dislikes. It’s not hard. Here’s what I do when I’m cooking one of our regular meals: Channa Massala.

Take this recipe by Vegan Richa. Obviously I’d take out the chilli flakes and chillies but I also make a lot of my spice mixes. In this recipe it’s a channa massala mix but I also do my own garam massala. Just so Kate never has to go near a chilli.

Sweets Without Sugar (Vegan MoFo 2018)

I know sugar free means different things to different people. In my life (in the coffee shop) when people ask me if something is sugar free what they usually mean is something refined sugar free.

So once again I welcome you into my home kitchen to see a treat that’s still in the test stages. Here I’m not just going for refined sugar free. We want something that’s raw. It also has to be stable at room temperature. I’ve been playing around with cookies, taking cues from those raw brownies I made last week I’m now making raw chocolate and coconut cookies, sweetened with agave nectar and dehydrated for stability. Once I have a working recipe, you’ll be the first to know but for now I’m having fun experimenting.