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Earlier this year, I received a bundt cake mould for my birthday. Today I realised that I still hadn’t used it. So I made this soft molasses gingerbread cake from Veganissimo! by my sister, Leigh Drew.

Instead of blackstrap molasses I used treacle (are they the same thing?… very dark liquid sugary stuff, anyway). I didn’t have any flaxseed meal, which is there to bind the cake together. So I tried to grind up some white chia seeds, which should be able to play the same role. But the chia seeds didn’t seem to want to grind up! so I just gave up and added them to the cake looking almost whole. They seemed to do the necessary, because this cake has a lovely soft texture and a very warm flavour from all the spices.

I admit that I did not include any crystalised ginger because (a) I don’t really like it, (b) I didn’t think my kids would like it, (c) I didn’t have any in the house or (d) all of the above. [Answer: (d)]

I decided to make the (optional) lemon icing, but my icing was a little too runny so it doesn’t look quite as artistic as the photo in the cookbook, which you can see on this blog post from veganopoulous.com.  It doesn’t matter at all, because the cake really is the star attraction. My eldest child said “It’s really yum”, and that seems to sum it up.

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Sometimes I just like a little coconut yoghurt on my morning cereal. Usually I have to go to the health food to see if they have Coyo yoghurt in stock. So I was happy to see a new coconut yoghurt product on sale in the yoghurt section of my usual supermarket.  (That’s right: it was in the usual yoghurt section, not some kind of “special food for problem customers” type section). Naturally I purchased some to give it a try.

Nudie is known in Australia for selling additive-free fruit juices. I guess they’re branching out.

I enjoyed this yoghurt: it has a pleasant taste which is quite mild. I’d buy it again.  I’d also like to see how it goes in a yoghurt cake. (Cakes with yoghurt in usually end up with a great texture, in my somewhat limited experience.)

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However, as a vegan, I didn’t like the cartoon on the foil seal: “Cows need a holiday too!”.  I don’t want the cow to have to come back to work at the end of its “holiday”. I want us to stop exploiting cows.  So I found this message very jarring, and I bet I’m not the only one. Nudie, you don’t want to irritate the vegan component of your market… do you?

 

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As soon as I read this recipe one One Green Planet, I knew that I had to try it.  I’d never made a cheese using chickpea liquid before. The recipe was very easy to make, combining soaked cashews with the chickpea liquid, and some flavourings, before stirring over heat to make the mixture thicken, then cooling overnight. As you can perhaps see from the photos,  what I ended up with was a kind of soft spreadable cheese… and that’s fine with me.

The cheese is tasty, though mild. Next time I make it I might try increasing the quantity of lemon juice and nutritional yeast a bit. But it definitely pressed all the right buttons when served with tomato slices, home-grown basil and olive oil.

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Next I tried the mozzarella in a toasted sandwich. It didn’t form any long strings when I bit into it but it tastes cheesey and comforting. Again, this is totally fine by me. I guess the next step would be to try it on a vegan pizza.

Rubyfruit Southern Fried Chickn Burger

I have had a cold/flu for the last week, so I haven’t done much in the way of exciting cooking. But I’ve got some lovely photos from back in July, when we spent a few days in the Blue Mountains and finally, *finally* visited Rubyfruit in Leura.  I’ve been wanting to go there for so long!  (Last time we tried, they were full and we couldn’t wait, for some reason which must have seemed important at the time.)  It’s always a great feeling to visit an all-vegan cafe or restaurant, knowing that I can order anything on the menu without the need to ask lots of questions.

Since it was lunchtime, we had lunch there. I had the Southern Fried Chickn Burger with sriracha mayonaise.

Rubyfruit Southern Fried Chickn Burger bite

This tasted fantastic. Look at the great texture on their chickn seitan. I really enjoyed my side salad too: grated beetroot, grated carrots and some pumpkin seeds.

Rubyfruit Mexican Burger Chipotle Mayo

My partner had the Mexican Burger with chipotle mayonaise, and a coleslaw side salad, and enjoyed both. The coffee was good too.

Next time I’m in the vicinity, I will strive to go to Rubyfruit around afternoon tea time so I can try one (or more!) of their famous sweet treats.

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These are the most sausage-like seitan sausages that I have ever made. The recipe is from the Grumpy Sailor and it is a good’un. As you can see, I enjoyed my sausages for brunch (and also I had about the same thing for dinner, I mean brinner, once or twice). These sausages are also good sliced up in sandwiches, as the Grumpy Sailor rightly mentions.

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The seitan is wrapped up in foil and steamed. Maybe in the past I’ve wrapped my foil too loosely? This time the foil really did shape the seitan into sausage-like cylinders. The photo above shows the seitan after it has been steamed. Then you can fry or grill the sausages when you need them (refrigerate or freeze the rest).

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Just look at that texture! I was amazed and pleased. They taste very good too. I will definitely make these again.

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Just about every week I make a batch of fruity seedy biscuits, to use up almond pulp from homemade almond milk. I posted a recipe last year, but thought I’d give you an updated recipe to show you the variation which has become my favourite: the short version is that it involves cocoa powder, dates and some cranberries.   With no added sugar, these biscuits  are tasty little slow-release energy bombs to power me through busy afternoons at work.

Ingredients:

These go into the food processor:

  • pulp from 1 cup of almonds (leftover from making almond milk)
  • 1/2 cup self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit: I like medjool dates with a couple of tablespoons of cranberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • about 3 tablespoons raw cacoa powder (or cocoa powder)
  • pinch of salt

These are mixed in later:

  • 1/4 cup rolled oats,
  • 1/4 cup mixed seeds (I use pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds),
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil or canola oil,
  • 1 tablespoon of apple sauce (or more if the mixture needs help sticking together)

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F.  Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Place the almond pulp, flour, baking powder, cacao/coca powder and salt in a food processor. If the dates are soft they can go straight into the processor: otherwise, soak them and the cranberries in some warm water for a couple of minutes to soften, then drain and add to the processor.

Process the mixture until the fruit is broken up and the mixture starts to clump together. The mixture should be moist and hold together if you press it.

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients.  Mix well: I usually use my hands, to work the moisture through the mixture evenly.  Form the mixture into a big ball.

From the ball of mixture, rip off biscuit-sized pieces and roll into balls, squish down a bit, and put on the baking tray. Bake for about 8 – 10 minutes or so, until they are starting to brown on top. Leave to cool on the tray for a couple of minutes, then transfer onto a cooling rack.

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This recipe is the first thing I have cooked from from Nom Yourself by Mary Mattern.  The cauliflower is dipped in batter and then fried. There’s a very tasty orange sesame sauce. The recipe includes instructions for a chili mayo sauce, but I didn’t make that. Instead, I thought we could do with some greenery in the meal, so I included some broccoli and snow peas in the stir fry. This was a pleasing meal.