Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Cookbook Challenge Week 17 - Please Don't Feed The Bears

This week I have been cooking from a curious little book called Please Don't Feed The Bears by Asbjorn Itonsus:

I first came across this book a few years ago on the VeganFreaks forum and decided to buy it, it does not just contain recipes but also stories*, hints about cooking (such as "Thickeners Demystified") , quotes, hand drawn pictures, music recommendations for each recipe and a cross word.

The first recipe that I tried was Chinese Take-Out. It was delicious and tasted like it had just come from a Chinese restaurant - very similar to veg in black bean sauce. I will be making this again without a doubt:

The second recipe was Corn and Potato Chowdah. Again another lovely recipe, creamy thick and tasty - and surprisingly healthy:

The third recipe that I tried was Road Rash Skillet - this is a mix of burger crumbles (I used Asda Chargrill Style Burger Mix), pasta, tomato sauce, green beans, oregano, garlic & cinnamon. This was again another really good dish, I have tried Cinnamon in savoury food before and didn't like it (Cincinnati chili from Low Cal Vegan Comfort Food) but this worked really well. I made it after getting home from work late and it was warm, tasty comfort food:

The final recipe that I made was Roald Dahl Soup. I'm not sure why its called this (possibly it was inspired from a recipe in Roald Dahl's cookbook - Completely Revolting Recipe's) but as per the 3 other recipes it was also rather good. It was made with yellow split peas, mung beans & Basmati rice with lots of curry flavour and was filling as well. Several people in work actually commented on how lovely it smelled in the office:

Overall I really like this book, the only criticisms would be that it doesn't state how many people each recipe serves and in one or two of the recipe's steps are missing (for example in the chowdah recipe it doesn't state what to do with the carrot) but from a taste point of view all the recipes were great. In the past I have also made the BBQ wrecking ball loaf which again was delicious (especially topped with Tofutti cream cheese).

*My favourite story is from page 29 about the day the author saw a dead woman, it was very touching and made this cook book extra special in my eyes.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Cookbook Challenge Week 16 - Veggie Burgers Every Which Way

This week I have been cooking from Veggie Burgers Every Which Way by Lukas Volger. I bought this book when I was in a bit of a rush in Waterstones and only realised when I got home that its a vegetarian cookbook with some Vegan recipes. Not to be put off, I made 3 of the Vegan burgers which I thought would be tastiest  - Best Portobellow Burgers, Mushroom Burgers with Barley & Seitan Burgers with Mango BBQ Sauce

Best Portobellow Burgers - this was really nice and very simple (about 5 ingredients), it was not very filling but still tasted really good. The only change I made was using small Portobellow mushrooms instead of 1 large and I swapped the rice vinegar for balsamic as I could not get rice vinegar:

Mushroom Burgers with Barley - these didn't look much like the picture in the book (possibly because I used my stick blender - perhaps a food processor would give a coarser texture) but they were still really good - full of flavour and quite filling, I perhaps should have cooked them a bit longer as they were a bit soft in the middle but the taste made up for that:

Seitan Burgers with BBQ Mango Sauce - this was by far my favourite recipe (2 actually as the Mango BBQ Sauce had to be made separately). The seitan was a great texture, tasted slightly meaty and the sauce was just brilliant (very reminiscent of Sweet & Sour), I did make 1 change which was leaving the seitan whole rather than cutting into strips. I will definitely be making both the seitan and the sauce again:

Even though some of the recipes in this book are only vegetarian I have to admit that I like the book and some of the recipes are very inventive, I will try a few more in future and hopefully they will be as tasty as these 3.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Cookbook Challenge Week 15 - Vegan Junk Food

This week I have been cooking from Vegan Junk Food by Lane Gold, I had high expectations for this book but was a little disappointed in some of the recipes.

Chickpea Tuna Melt - The tuna was not great, it was OK but not very tasty and just didn't taste as good as other versions from The Sexy Vegan and Happy Herbivore:

Tater tot breakfast casserole - This casserole was actually quite good, the tofu on the bottom solidified and become a bit like an omelette. The taste was good but I felt it was lacking something.

Bacon Egg Salad - The salad (tofu & chickpeas for eggs, bacons bits, mayo etc) again was OK but a bit tasteless, it could really have done with more flavour - possibly some soya cheese.

French Onion Soup Casserole - This is when things turned around, this was delicious. The soup base was tasty and had lots of depth, the bread soaked up some of the soup so it was gooey and the cheese finished it off well. I will probably make this again:

The Portabellow Cheesesteak was really good as well - mushrooms, onions & peppers fried with vegan Worcester sauce topped with soya cheese - just lovely:

Sloppy Joes - this was the best recipe I tried, I've never had sloppy joes before but this was lovely - meaty, tomatoey and delicious. Will definitely make this again:

Overall I did like this book and will be trying some of the other recipes (the onion dip looks devine) but what I found annoying was its reliance on specific branded foods that we don't have in the UK (Gimme Lean sausages - had to use Frys, Tater Tots - used chopped roasted potato, Vegan beef bouillon - I used brown Miso).

Friday, 12 April 2013

Cookbook Challenge Week 14 - Happy Herbivore

Happy Herbivore is the original book in the herbivore series, I have had it for ages and use some of the recipes regularly (Banana Bread & Pancakes) but this week I have made the "Tuna" salad, Rajam Masala & the Nomelet.

The Nomelet was quite good, it was baked rather than fried but for some reason I wasn't too keen on the texture, I much preferred the omelettes from Cozy Inside & The Fat Free Vegan Blog, but here's how mine looked:

The Rajam Masala (Kidney Bean Masala) was really good, not too spicy and packed with flavour:

Again I have saved the best for last - the "tuna" was great (not as good as The Sexy Vegans but almost), it didn't taste overpoweringly of fish and was good and creamy:

Overall this was a really good book and I will definitely be continuing to use it in future.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Easter Treats

I though I would share a few of the treats that I have had over the Easter weekend:

Easter Sunday porridge - this consisted of porridge poured over a huge dollop of white chocolate peanut butter and topped with black cherry pie filling:

Hot chocolate with soyatoo cream:

Easter Sunday lunch - roast potatoes and parsnips, carrot & swede, broccoli, stuffing, bread sauce with stuffed seitan:

Dessert - Oreo trifle (Oreo's layered with soyatoo and black cherry pie filling):

Tempeh lasagna & tempeh kebabs:

Easter Eggs:

Cookbook challenge week 13 - Happy Herbivore Everday

This week I have been cooking from Happy Herbivore Everday by Lindsay Nixon, I have has this book a while but  so far I have only made 1 or 2 things from it, this week however I made the Toasted Cheese, Smoky Cauliflower Soup and the Nola Gumbo:

The toasted cheese was made from soy milk, nutritional yeast, flour with herbs & ketchup. It was actually rather good but would have been better if it has some Vegan ham or bacon in there:

The smoked cauliflower soup was lovely, creamy and warming. I may have used a bit too much spice in it but it was still delicious:

The nola gumbo is my favourite of the 3 recipes I tried, it was warming and tasty, similar to chilli but with some different flavours in there - it tasted really good cold as well:

Along with Happy Herbivore Abroad & Appetite for reduction this is going to become one of those books I turn to when I want tasty but low fat/food.