Thursday, 29 August 2013

Cookbook Challenge Week 36 - Skinny Bitch in The Kitch

This week I have been cooking from Skinny Bitch in the Kitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin, I bought my copy of this book a few years ago for a £1 from a discount book store but the only thing I have made has been the "Chicken" salad sandwich (which has been one of my favourite sandwiches ever since) so I was looking forward to using this book:

Bitchtastic Brownies - This was was a big failure. Firstly and most importantly the taste was outstandingly good, but the problem was that after an hour in the oven (even though the recipe only states cook for 30 minutes) they were still not done. They looked done so I took them out the oven and let them cool, but when I attempted to remove them from the pan what I got was a big squishy pile of deliciousness that would be great spread on toast or eaten as a mouse, but not actual brownies. This failure may be due to the oil I used, instead of the safflower oil in the recipe I used Carotino, which is suitable for baking but states on the bottle that less can be used compared to regular oil so this may have been the issue ( I also used it to make Lotus (Biscoff) spread blondies which were an epic failure as well) so I will try again with a regular oil as they did taste out of this world.

Chicken Salad Sandwich - This is a great sandwich, fully of flavour from some unusual ingredients (curry powder etc) it really is worth the effort:

Tuna Salad - I was a bit worried about making this as the idea of using parsnip instead of Tuna really didn't sound right. But it was. It was absolutely delicious and I will certainly be making this again:

Meatloaf - I have wanted a really good Vegan meatloaf recipe for a while and now I finally have one, this was bursting with flavour and freezes really well, great for a Sunday roast (the only substitution I made was using Redwoods meatless balls pulsed in a food processor instead of soya mince as there is currently some mystery of frozen soya mince in the UK):

Now for my 3 favourite recipes!

Chicken Noodle Soup - there is not much I can say about this other than it tasted just like chicken soup but without the rotting animal carcass. If you have this book or are planning to buy it this recipe is a must:

French Scramble - This was another great recipe, the texture was similar to soft scrambled egg (as opposed to being quite tough like most scrambled tofu) which was probably due to not pressing the liquid out of the tofu (the recipe didn't state I should so I didn't). The taste was lovely and it had the addition of spinach which I don't usually put in scrambled tofu but it really worked well:

Denver Bitchette - This was the best recipe that I tried, I didn't think that it would become an omelette as it uses dried egg replacer and tofu crumbled by hand, but if you the follow the recipe it ends up being a yummy omelette full of cheese and veggies. I'm not sure if the egg replacer did much but it certainly didn't do any harm having it in there:

Overall this is a damn good book, I loved every recipe and will be making every single one again.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Cookbook Challenge Week 35 - Hot Damn & Hell Yeah

This week I have been cooking from Hot Damn & Hell Yeah (there is also a second book included as part of this one called The Dirty South cookbook which I have not used yet).
I have made nothing from this book before so approached it with an open mind, the results were actually really good:

Biscuits & Gravy - This was a slight disappointment (my own fault) because I accidentally left the biscuits out over night and they were not great the next day, I ended up having the gravy part with mash instead. It was brilliant, tasty homemade comfort food:

Vegetable Minestrone - This was my first ever attempt at minestrone and it was really good, far better than anything out of a can:
Lentil Burger - This was a bit soggy (I might use a few more breadcrumbs instead), but still full of flavour and very filling:

Chili Non-Carne - This was by far my favourite recipe, what I really liked was that it wasn't very spicy, there was some spice/heat, but a nice amount which means you can still taste the rest of the flavours:

Overall this was a great book, it would be better if it had photo's and maybe some more specific instructions for the recipes, but you can't have everything can you?

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Cookbook Challenge Week 33 & 34 - In Search of The Lost Taste & Alternative Vegan

The first book that I cooked from this week was In Search of The Lost Taste by Joshua Ploeg. I have had this book a few years but some of the recipes are quite unusual so I've only used it once, this week I made 3 recipes from it:

Tomato Boats Stuffed with Curried "Chiken"-This is the one recipe that I have made before and I chose to make it again because it really is good, the fake chicken is spicy but not too hot and full of flavour. The only thing that I didn't like was it being served in tomatoes, even after being dried out they still felt a bit soggy. I think this would be better in bell peppers or as a sandwich filling:

Peanut Breaded & Fried Marinated Tempeh - this was a delicious recipe, I usually just steam Tempeh and eat it as is or make fake bacon with it, but this dish was excellent. The Tempeh was spicy again without being too hot and it also had a slightly nutty flavour from the peanuts. I will certainly be making it again, I served it with:

Whole Fava Beans in Spicy Tomato Sauce - finally this was another great recipe, it was tasty & easy to make, full of flavour and very filling:

Overall I was really impressed with this book, it was a bit fly by the seat of your pants (the Tempeh recipe didn't specify amounts for the marinade just which ingredients to use) but I quite liked that as it leaves plenty of room for adapting recipes & using substitutes.

The second book that I have been using is Alternative Vegan by Dino Sarma. I first heard of the book a few years ago when I was a member of the Vegan Freaks forum where Dino was another member, this week I have used it to make 4 recipes:

Lentils & Chickpeas - this was an excellent recipe - nuts, chickpeas, lentils & spices all cooked together. It was just delicious and made a great filling for wraps:

Quick Garbanzo Soup - this was quite enjoyable, full of flavour but I found it a bit thin. Next time I am going to try blending some of the soup to make it thicker:

Rasam - this was my second favourite recipe - split peas in a spicy tamarind/lime sauce. When served over or mixed into rice it was a delicious and filling meal:

Banana Bread - this was my favourite recipe - banana bread with chopped nuts and peanut butter in it. It was divine and especially good warmed up and spread with coconut oil:

Overall I really liked this book, one of the best things about it was that non of the recipes contained soya/tofu/fake milks etc just healthy basic ingredients put to great use, although I do have a great liking for tofu etc its great that there are books out there that don't rely so heavily on them.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Cookbook Challenge Week 32 - Vegan Diner

This week I have been cooking from Vegan Diner by Julie Hasson. I have cooked a few things from this before that have all worked out well so I was quite excited to try some more recipes, fortunately every single one was fantastic and I have had a week of gorgeous food.

Old-Fashioned Tomato Soup - this soup was rich, full of flavour and creamy from using blended cashews.

Grillled Cheezy Sandwich - This fantastic sandwich was made using the Great Smoky Mountain Cheese from the book and was brilliant - a toasted sandwich filled with smoky cheese, onion & tomato:

Sloppy Joes - I have tried a few recipes for Sloppy Joes this year and whilst none stand up to Vegan Junk Food's, this was a really good version - full of flavour and very filling:

Jambalaya - This is another of those dishes that I have never tried before so have nothing to compare it to, however what I got was a spicy/tomatoey dish filled with rice and seitan. And it was great:

Pastrami Style Seitan Roast - I have tried the smoky seitan from this book before which turned out well, as did the pastrami version - it has a great flavour and texture (I may have slightly overcooked mine but it still tasted great):

Quick and Hearty Chilli - I have made this about 5 times now, it is one of my favourite chili recipes. Its indeed quick to made but very very tasty:

And now for the three best -

Great Smoky Mountain Cheese - my forays into vegan cheese making have not been a great sucess until now. This recipe is again quite simple using silken tofu as the main ingredient and although it did have a slightly rubbery texture, from a taste point of view it cannot be faulted. I will be making this again (I may try leaving out the Agar Agar to make a soft cheese instead) and using the base recipe again as well  to experiment with:

Served with hash browns, sausages and scrambled tofu:

Barbecued Ribz - this recipe was outstanding, I have not had a Vegan rib before but these were brilliant. Made with seitan and smothered in BBQ sauce they were one of the best thing I have eaten in months, I will be making them again over the weekend using a Chinese style sauce instead:

Ooey-Gooey Brownies - I made a mistake with the recipe for these and ended up using about half as much sugar as I should, so I expected these to be awful. However even my terrible cooking failed to ruin them. The brownies are full of chocolate chips and covered in a chocolate ganachey icing, and even with the missing sugar were still gorgeous. They were still sweet but not too sweet (being diabetic I'm used to not having too much sugar in things) and had a delightful bitterness to them (reminiscent of a good dark chocolate) which also came from the coffee used in the recipe.
I will certainly be making them again (maybe using the right amount of sugar in future) and they even passed the omnivore tested (all my family loved them):

Overall how did I find this book? Faultless.
Buy it, use it, its wonderful.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Cookbook Challenge Week 31 - The Vegan Slow Cooker

This week I have been cooking from The Vegan Slow Cooker by Kathy  Hester, I have been looking forward to using this book as it means I can be lazy. Throw things in the slow cooker and job done. Most of the recipes turned out well but there were a few failures....

Wholewheat Pumpkin Gingerbread - this was almost a complete failure. The flavour was wonderful, but my slow cooker seems to cook too fast and unevenly. After 30 minutes the bread was burnt on the outside and raw in the middle. It tasted good. But was still a failure:

Weekend Tofu and Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole:
I didn't have time to make this in the slow cooker, so I used the microwave instead. Bit of a mistake that one. This I think would have been good if I had used the slow cooker but it just tasted like sloppy salty tofu:

And now for the good-

Cheesey Broccoli Rice - this was excellent - rice, nooch, vegan cheese and broccoli. Just  delicious, it was really good cold the next day for lunch:

Chili Relleno Casserole - this was supposed to be like a soufflé made from silken tofu & corn. It turned out really well, it was a bit like a spicy cheesey bread. I will be making this again:

Chikn and Dumplings - this was a really tasty dish, a bit thin and the dumplings were very hard but it still tasted good:

Hot and Sour Soup - I have never made hot & sour soup before but this turned out well, it was full of mushrooms & tofu and tasted great, I served it over rice noodles:

Soy Chorizo & Black Bean Stew - this was excellent, full of flavour and protein, it worked well warm for dinner and cold the next day for lunch:

Easy Very Chickpea Biryani - this was another good recipe, again a bit thin but still full of flavour and a lovely dish to come home to at night:

Be-My-Valentine Chocolate Oatmeal - this recipe used far more water than vegan milk and I found it a bit tasteless, however it was a simple way of making oatmeal that I will be trying again (using less water and more milk in future):

Overall this was a good book, I had to adjust the cooking times quite a lot as most of the recipes make 4-6 servings and I halved them, I also had to take into account a slow cooker that isn't that slow so most of these ended up taking far less time than they should (no more than 3 hours at most) but most of the recipes came out really well and I will definitely be using this book again, especially in winter when I want to come home to a nice warming soup or stew.