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Hi team, it’s been a while. But I’m back, to tell you about these homemade BBQ seitan ribz I made recently, using this recipe from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.  (That recipe dates all the way back to 2007, wow.)  I thought the ribz turned out pretty well.  I just did what the recipe said, using store-bought BBQ sauce though because I’d run out of puff by then.

I ate these on sandwiches, chucked them into lunch bowls and sometimes just gnawed on them straight from the fridge when I wanted a chewy savoury snack.  I’d make these again and I’d probably aim for a spicier BBQ sauce, something with a bit of a kick.

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This post from the Fat Gay Vegan, entitled “Leeds gets super vegan”,  reminded me that I hadn’t yet posted about my trip to the Old Red Bus Station on my last day in Leeds, back in July.  This place is a bar and a venue and hosts Cantina, “Leeds first all-vegan eatery”.

When I visited, there was a large meet-up happening and food was available only from the bar. I settled in with a beer and awaited the arrival of my lunch: a Ve-bab, described in the menu as “Seitan Kebab served in a Pitta with Salad, Garlic Sauce & Chunky Chips”. You can just see one slice of seitan in the photo, sticking out under the lettuce on the left side. The seitan and pitta were delicious and I really enjoyed the garlic sauce.

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I’m really glad I ate here, it’s a cool place.

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If you find yourself in Leeds centre, this place is just north of the Headrow on Vicar Lane.  Look on the right side of the road as you walk north: when you see a sign in an upstairs window that says “HAIL SEITAN”, you’re there.

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I have been wanting to visit Humpit at the Corn Exchange in Leeds ever since I read the Fat Gay Vegan’s blog post about his visit, nearly 3 years ago. I usually visit Leeds every couple of years but I don’t always get to the city centre. Imagine my joy last week, while visiting Leeds University, to find out that there was a Humpit on campus!  Finally I was able to enjoy a bowl full of gorgeous hummus, topped with a felafel, mushrooms and spicy salsa. It was all really tasty, and so was the accompanying pita. I also enjoyed their homemade pink lemonade, which you can just see in the photo (not very pink though).

The aesthetic of the place is really cute too. I like the cartoon falafels.

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I spent last week in London and Leeds. It was a work trip. In London I was staying in Bethnal Green, at a hotel chosen by my host. It was a very lucky choice for me because it was close to the Gallery Cafe: an all-vegan cafe serving this really special vegan breakfast.  In fact, my first day in the UK went like this: land Heathrow 6am. Clear customs, get bag. Make way directly to hotel, dump bag. Walk to the Gallery Hotel and mooch around outside until they opened. Eat delicious vegan breakfast.

From the menu: “A Classic breakfast comprising sourdough toast, pan-fried mushrooms, herb-roasted tomatoes, sausages, scrambled tofu, fried potatoes, sauteed kale and homemade baked beans in a rich and flavourful tomato sauce”. The beans were particularly good but really it was all amazing. Definitely recommend. No need to get there as early as me though: they serve breakfast until 12pm on weekdays and until 1pm on weekends.

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I made these cinnamon scrolls! They were yummy. Also very filling. The recipe I used was from The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. I didn’t bother drizzling any icing though. As suggested in the recipe, I made the dough the night before, rolled everything up and left it in the fridge overnight: this makes it a lot quicker to provide breakfast in the morning.

Next time I might try rolling out the dough a little thinner, to get more turns in each scroll. But these slightly chunky scrolls were also fine.

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This is the first recipe I’ve tried from Julie Piatt’s book This Cheese is Nuts. Many recipes in the book involve a dehydrator, but I don’t own a dehydrator. (Do you own a dehydrator? Are they worth it? I’m very interested in any comments you may have.)  So I tried a “form cheese” which doesn’t require a dehydrator.

This is the cashew cheddar. The colour comes from emptying out beta-carotene capsules. You mix up all the ingredients in a blender and then stir it around in a saucepan until it reaches a particular temperature and starts pulling away from the sides of the pan as you stir.  I didn’t use a thermometer but I did stir and stir and eventually, the magic happened.  Hooray! Then, the mixture firms up in the fridge.

Even when chilled, the cheese wasn’t as solid as I expected. It was good on sandwiches or on top of chillis. But I had also put some of the cheese in the freezer (I used four ramekins, because I didn’t have a larger container of the right size). Freezing the cheese changed the texture and it became more solid, as pictured. After freezing, the cheese was sliceable but still easily spreadable.

If I made this again, I would add some more flavourings, like pepper and garlic. The strong and gorgeous flavours of (my sister!) Leigh Drew’s cashew cheese recipe has set the bar really high, I guess.  I’d also like to try some of the other recipes in the book, and may try using the oven on a very low temperature for a very long time, as an alternative to a dehydrator. (Have you ever tried that?  How did it go??)

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This ginger cake was tasty and easy to make. The recipe, from fuss free flavours, suggests mixing all ingredients at once in a food processor.  I prefer the old-fashioned method of mixing all dry ingredients together in one bowl, wet ingredients in another, then combining.  I will confess that lately, I put the wet ingredients in the larger bowl and tip the dry ingredients into the wet: this way, you don’t end up losing lots of precious moisture on the side of a bowl. It seems to work fine.

This sort of cake can be finished with a dusting of icing sugar, but I didn’t bother and I don’t think it’s necessary. Just eat it.