Archives for category: meat substitute

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I was in Toronto recently for a week, for a conference. (I already told you about the delicious cactus tacos that I ate while there.) Luckily, my flight home was late at night, and a friend from the conference was in the same situation, so we walked around Toronto for a day. Our wanderings were not entirely aimless because I knew exactly where I wanted to end up for lunch: Hogtown Vegan, 1056 Bloor St W. Please note the special advertised on the board: pulled ‘pork’ poutine.

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This is a (blurry) photo of the pulled pork poutine special. Poutine is a Canadian thing, chips with gravy and sauce, something like that.  It was so, so good. Their lunch menu was full of delicious-sounding items: I really wished I could stay another week just to sample 7 more meals!  I am actually salivating now as I remember how good this messy stuff tasted.

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On the subject of vegan food in Toronto, I’d also like to mention Rise Espresso, 107 Mutual St.  If you are looking for good coffee near Ryerson University then I suggest you make your way there.

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Here is their display counter of baked goods, almost all from Sweets From the Earth and labelled as vegan. I liked the look of the unlabelled bread-like item at the top left, so I asked what it was, and was told it was banana bread with chocolate chips.  “Is it vegan?”, I asked.  “Everything in there is vegan!”, the lovely barista replied. Hooray! The banana bread with chocolate chips was delicious, and their coffee was great.

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This is a soya meat curry.  The little balls are made of soy beans (somehow) and have been dehydrated and packaged (see photo below).

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I have to thank my friend Dilini, who first gave me some soy meat curry that she had cooked (which tasted *amazing*!!), and then gave me this packet so I could cook some for myself. Of course hers tasted much better and more authentic than mine! I asked Dilini where I would find this packet and she said “Sri Lankan shops”.

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This is what the soy beans look like out of the packet. You soak them in hot water, then drain them and squeeze the water out.  Then, follow the instructions on the packet (a spice sachet is included) or find a recipe online, like this one.  I added zucchini (courgette) for a bit of green.  We all loved the soy meat balls, they’re really yummy. I’d definitely like to experiment with them again, and encourage you to do the same.

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After drooling over vegan faux seafood recipes online for a long time, I finally got my act together and bought some dulse flakes (I found them online). I decided to start with vegan fish and chips, following this recipe from Leafy Greens and Chocolate. The short version is that we all thought this was really tasty and enjoyed the meal. My 8 year old said “Mum, you got the packets mixed up, this *is* fish!” (-:

I served the vegan fish fillets with chips, steamed brocolli and roasted balsamic Brussel sprouts  (recipe from Greenilicious).

The process is easy and fun, though it does take a little planning ahead. If you want to learn more, read on…

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After pressing the tofu, you lay it on a nori sheet and drizzle with a simple marinade of lemon juice, soy sauce and dulse flakes. I accidently doubled the amount of dulse flakes specified by the recipe, but it all turned out fine.

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Then you put another nori sheet on top and blitz everything in the microwave for 2 minutes. The only dish I had that would fit the tofu filllets was Pyrex, and it wasn’t marked “microwave safe”. The interwebs assured me that the pyrex probably wouldn’t explode in the microwave, but that I should avoid putting the dish down on a cold surface when I took it out of the microwave. OK then. I placed it on a wooden cooling rack and nothing exploded. Then you just leave the tofu sitting there at room temperature for a few hours, to soak up the taste of the sea.

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Finally, you mix up a few ingredients and lay out some Panko crumbs, dip each steak into the wet stuff, roll it in the crumbs, place on a baking tray and stick it in the oven. Easy! Give it a try.

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My partner cooked these delicious curries from Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen. In the background: cauliflower and peas in spicy curry. The sauce in this dish is made creamy with cashew nuts, yum. But the main event was chicken-free balti, using chicken-free strips from the Alternative Meat Co (available from our local supermarket, hooray!). This was a very flavoursome curry with a great blend of spices. The chicken strips were grilled first, then used as the recipe described. They added a smoky flavour to the balti.

Good work honey! Please can cook this again for us sometime.

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At the start of the year, we were heading back to Brisbane from the south and I realised that this was a perfect opportunity to visit the Loving Hut at Mt Gravatt, Brisbane. I had heard good things but had never eaten here. Now I definitely want to eat at Loving Hut again soon! Check out the amazing lunch I had: Seven Seas Delight, described as “crispy fried veggie protein and seaweed, dressed with a thick ginger and soy sauce”. It really tasted like fish. It was amazing, delicious and just gorgeous: very special food. I loved it.

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My partner cannot go past a thai curry, and he enjoyed his Thai Red Curry.

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The kids ordered a spaghetti bolognese each, but really could have shared one: it was huge and very tasty.

It’s always such a joy to be in an all-vegan establishment with many many items on the menu. Loving Hut is a global chain, so now I will look out for them on my travels as well. Two thumbs up.

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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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I felt that it was time to try a new seitan recipe. (I have only really tried chorizo seitan from Viva Vegan, and chickpea cutlets from Veganomicon.) After a bit of googling, I saw a lot of people posting recipes adapting the Steamed White Seitan recipe from Viva Vegan. So I decided to start there. (The recipe is also available online from food.com.)

The recipe was quite easy to make, but I wasn’t quite sure that I got my four loaves into the right shape. Also, I forgot to set the timer for the steaming and I suspect that I should have steamed them a little longer. Never mind, the seitan always gets cooked again before eating.

For two of the loaves, I sliced them and grilled them (left).  The other two spent some time in the freezer, then I defrosted them, tried to slice them thinly, briefly marinated them and put them in the oven. It turns out that the defrosting was a mistake: I later read a tip saying that you should slide partially-frozen seitan, so that you can make thinner slices. Never mind!  For the marinade I used a simpler version of tempeh tickle, with just olive oil, balsamic vinegar, some Braggs, a little Dijon mustard and a spot of maple syrup. (There’s already enough herbs in the seitan so I didn’t add any more herbs in the marinade.)  Then I put the marinated slices on an oven tray (on top of some kitchen paper) and put them in the oven for about 10 minutes each side. They came out quite crispy and tasty.

I’ve been enjoying the grilled slices in sandwiches this week (I slice them in half again before use, to make them thinner) and I think the oven-baked slices are going to make delicious sandwiches too. But I’d be happy to learn new ways to prepare seitan, especially for sandwiches, since I usually take sandwiches to work. If you know of a good recipe, please let me know in the comments!