Vegan MoFo 2019: Wrap up day

I had three intentions this year: post everyday, cook from The Nordic Baking Book, and cook outside. Well I did manage a lot from The Nordic Baking Book but my other two intentions were defeated by exhaustion, sickness, and bad weather. Still it’s been fun.

To wrap up I cooked a meal inspired by another blog. I figured at the start of the month that I was probably going to cook something from Herbivore’s Heaven and her trip to Japan but until yesterday I wasn’t sure what I wanted it to be. I mean ideally I’d have gone to that dog friendly theme park with my Dad and Watson but that wasn’t in the budget. I made Curry Udon instead.

I used the recipe from Just One Cookbook veganised by using kombu dashi and chickwheat shreds in place of the meat. It was a perfect way to end Vegan MoFo 2019.

Vegan MoFo 2019: Cocktail/mocktail

I never know if I should call myself Straight Edge or not because honestly I’m just not that cool. I mean I haven’t been to a gig since my early twenties. Unless you count escorting my Guides to Wellies and Wristbands or Big Gig. Last time I went to Big Gig I actually fell asleep during it. So I don’t have the hardcore thing down but I don’t drink so I’m making mocktails today.

The other thing that’s inspiring my post is my fabulous collection of souvenir mugs! I was inspired by my pineapple to google pineapple mocktail and find this recipe. And then I put my serving into my favourite gaudy goblet from Be Our Guest. It lights up. It’s awesome.

Vegan honey from apple juice?

This post is part of VeganMoFo 2019, a month-long celebration of vegan food. This week’s theme is travel, and today’s prompt is a dish that transports you back to a vacation.

Many vegans feel guilt about their pre-vegan days, particularly when in comes to treasured memories that are decidedly non-vegan. My advice? Be kind to yourself: you were brought up in a society that normalises the consumption of animal products, and you didn’t know then what you know now.

Seven and a half years ago, Clare and I went on holiday to Center Parcs with Clare’s dad. After a morning swim and an afternoon of archery, Clare’s dad wanted to relax in the lodge, so Clare and I went swimming again on our own. Afterwards I suggested we try Ortega, the tapas restaurant in the Center Parcs village. I made three discoveries that night: that not drinking alcohol doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy cocktails (virgin piña colada for me and Spanish sunset for Clare); that sweet and savoury can work together (honey and cheese croquettes); and that having a meal with your girlfriend in a dimly-lit and otherwise empty restaurant, followed by a lakeside walk under lamplight, is incredibly romantic.

Seven and a half years later, we’re married and vegan. This evening Clare returned from a long weekend camping with the Guides, and I welcomed her home by restaging that meal. But what could I do about the honey and cheese croquettes? Fortunately Marks & Spencer have ‘not-zzarella sticks’ in their Plant Kitchen range, so I just had to make the honey.

honey

Search for vegan honey recipes and you’ll find dozens of variants on the same theme: combine two parts apple juice with one part sugar and boil down to half the original volume. I used golden syrup for the sugar. The result had a pleasing colour but still tasted strongly of apple juice. It worked well with the not-zzarella sticks, but no-one is going to be fooled into thinking it’s honey. The romantic meal, though? Just perfect.

 

French onion soup (recipe)

This post is part of VeganMoFo 2019, a month-long celebration of vegan food. This week’s theme is travel, and today’s prompt is favourite international dish.

I’m not usually keen on onion-centric food: onion rings have too strong a flavour for me, and I don’t like the crunch of lightly-cooked onions when they’re part of a larger dish. However, at my company’s annual conference last year the vegan option was French onion soup, and to my surprise I enjoyed it.

This is proper slow food: I put on the deluxe edition of London Grammar’s Truth Is A Beautiful Thing as I started, and I was still cooking when the album finished an hour and twenty minutes later. The long cooking time makes the onions soft and silky, and mellows their flavour.

soup

Ingredients (per person)

2 onions
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon brown sugar
200ml vegetable stock (or water)
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
¼ lemon
¼ teaspoon salt
Several pinches of black pepper

Method

Finely slice the onions and garlic.

Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the onions, garlic, and a tablespoon of water.

Cook over a low heat, stirring every few minutes, until the onions start to brown. This may take up to an hour. If the onions start to stick to the pan, add a little water.

Once the onions have started to brown, stir in the sugar and add the stock (or water) and vinegar.

Bring to the boil and then simmer for fifteen minutes. Season with the juice from the lemon, salt, and pepper.

Serve with slices of crusty French bread.

 

Gram and vegan cheese shortbread (recipe)

This post is part of VeganMoFo 2019, a month-long celebration of vegan food. This week’s theme is travel, and today’s prompt is road trip snack.

These gram and vegan cheese shortbread rounds may be small, but they pack in a lot of flavour. Fill a mini lunch box with them for a delicious snack that’s robust enough to survive being thrown around in your travel bags.

This recipe is adapted from a non-vegan original in Rose Prince’s The New English Kitchen. The keys to success are using a firm vegan butter (I used Naturli Organic Vegan Block) and the strongest vegan cheese you can find (I used Daiya Medium Cheddar Style Farmhouse Block).

lunchbox

Ingredients (makes 12)

60g gram flour
50g vegan cheese, grated
40g vegan butter, cut into cubes
¼ teaspoon salt
Several pinches of ground pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 180℃.

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and process until they start to combine.

processor

Tip out onto a clean surface and knead for a few seconds until the mixture has an even consistency.

Roll into a cylinder about 3cm in diameter, and then cut into rounds about 1cm thick. Use a sharp knife and rotate the cylinder a quarter turn after each cut to avoid squashing it.

before-baking

Put the rounds onto a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes. The edges should start to turn a golden brown colour. Leave to cool.

after-baking

Vegan Mofo 2019: Spring Salad / Review: Show Up For Salad by Terry Hope Romero

I’m actually really bad at salads. I’m not great at improvising. That’s not true. Actually I’m great at improvising. Only I need clear guidelines and a structure to work with. Very clear, detailed guidelines, recipes almost. Only recipes aren’t great for salads are they? Because you want to use the freshest stuff, not just what’s on a list. I know, I’m going in circles right?

Show Up For Salad is the perfect middle ground. In fact it’s split pretty evenly down the middle between general advice guidance and mix and match recipes to help you put together your own salad combos, and more traditional salad recipes. For this review I thought I’d try one of each: a recipe, and throwing my own thing together.

spring

The Bright And Spicy Spring Asparagus salad was the first one to try. You have the choice of five salad dressings to make this one with and I went for the Tahini French Dressing. I also substituted the mix of greens suggested for the organic salad bag I’d got that week in my Riverford box because it was there and it was fresh. I enjoyed the salad although I did wish I’d made a dressing with more heat.

sidesalad

Tonight I made myself a side salad. For the leafy bit I mixed some bitter leaves with cos lettuce. I dressed it with Sunflower Ranch Dressing which is creamy and perfect and topped with Root Bacon. Yeah. Root Bacon. Bacon made from a bunch of carrots. It’s lush. And then I popped some seeds on top for crunch.

I can’t wait to explore more salads. I’ve got a row of beetroot in the garden destined for beet prosciutto. I’d honestly advise anyone to go out and buy a copy of Show Up For Salad.