Thursday, 31 October 2013

Vegan Cookbook Challenge Week 45 - Vegan Feasts

This week I have been cooking from Vegan Feasts by Rose Elliot:

I have had this book for a few years, I bought it because a friend recommended the Nut Loaf recipe. I have tried the nut loaf, it was excellent and I thought the rest of the recipes would be. I was disappointed in the end, some of the recipes were good but a few were disappointing.

The Bad:
Brown Lentil Loaf - this was tasty, but soggy and didn't have a great texture. I wont be making this again.
Chickpea Stew - this was OK, it had some nice flavours but was a bit boring. I wont be making this again either:

Chickpea Puree with Spicy Onion Topping - this was the biggest disappointment. It look great and potentially could have been really really great. I followed the recipe exactly and it was boring:

 The good
Basil & Sun Dried Tomato Scone - I made these to go with the puree and they were great, full of flavour and perfect for a light lunch:

Tofu & Mushroom Scramble - I was exited to try this as its one of very few tofu scramble recipes that uses Silken tofu, however I was worried as there is very little in the recipe flavour wise (no onion/garlic or nutritional yeast) but I needn't have been. This was excellent and because it was simple it showcased the flavours that were used:

Onion & Herb Quiche - This recipe turned out well, I have never had a onion quiche before but this was lovely, it never occurred to me to blend cooked onions into the tofu when making a quiche its definitely something I will be trying with my own recipes in future:

Colcannon - This is another of those recipes I haven't tried before, it was brilliant. Full of favour and cream goodness. I will be making this again:

Overall I was a bit disappointed with this book, it has taught me a few things but I don't think I will be using it much in future with the exception of the nut road recipe.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Cookbook Challenge Week 44 - Vegan Stoner

This week I have been cooking from the Vegan Stoner by Sarah Conrique & Graham I Haynes

This book is from the VeganStoner blog and is probably the nicest cookbook that I have, its a joy to read through with all the recipe ingredients shown as hand drawn pictures. A lot of the recipes are very flexible and don't use specific amounts (such as a handful of nooch or a spoon of lemon juice) which is great if there are certain ingredients your are not fond of as you can just use a small amount.
I expected to love this book and every recipe in it. I was disappointed however. Some of the recipes were great and others not so great....

Devilled Lentils - This was a strange recipe made using potato & lentils, I reduced the recipe by half (and the potato by a 3 quaters as half the potato is supposed to be for serving the lentils on) and served it with wholewheat bread. It was filling and didn't taste too bad, but the texture was strange and because it does not state specifically how much potato to use, mine ended up being more potato than lentil. I won't make this again:

Corn Chowder - Boring. In comparison with the version in Vegan with  A Vengeance I found this so very disappointing:

Breakfast Pizza - This was OK, I ended up blending the tofu & nooch instead of crumbling it. It was tasty but basically pizza:

Ohmlette - The taste of this was really good, it looked good but didn't cook properly (even when cooked for the stated time). It was nice but a sloppy mess when removed from the pan:

Pad Thai - And now things start to get better, this is a really quick and simple recipe but full of flavour and quite satisfying. It can be thrown together quickly and with great results. I threw some broccoli in to add colour:

Bahnwich - Seitan, balsamic veg & spicy mayo. A great tasting sandwich:

Falafel Pie - This is a falafel base with houmous and a yoghurt dressing, it tasted great but I served it cold and felt it would be lovely on a hot summer evening. Not a cold autumn one - I will make again in summer:

Mac and Peas - This was nice, I like the fact that there was some chili in the sauce, it added an extra dimension to the recipe that I will try with other in future. By this point in the week I realised that adding a few extra ingredients might boost the flavour a bit - I threw some onion & garlic powder in:

Corned Seitan Hash - This was tasty, filling and easy to make. A great weeknight meal:

Potato Hash - This far outstripped the hash above, it was delicious. Seitan, potato & veg in a creamy sauce. I also threw some onion powder, garlic powder, diced onion & diced mushrooms. I loved it, took it to work for breakfast (hence the worse that normal pictures) and will be making it again:

Holiday Pie - This was my favourite recipe, a layer of stuffing with a creamy mushroom topping. It was delicious and would be a great meal to make in the days before or after Christmas (or even with leftovers). I will be making this again:

Overall I was in two minds about this book, some of the recipes were boring & strange with other being fantastic. I think it has a lot of potential but some of the recipes do require a few things adding or changing (maybe some more spices to the chowder, maybe some thickener to the Ohmlette) I will be using the book again as there are some really great sounding recipes in it but I will be using them more as a base recipe and adding/changing things to suit.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Cookbook Challenge Week 43 - Vegan Slow Cooking For Two Or Just For You

This week I have been cooking from Vegan Slow Cooking For Two Or Just For You by Kathy Hester:

I have reviewed Kathy's other slow cooker book a few weeks ago and was impressed with the recipes, however this book hit the mark with me much more, partially due to the fact that the recipes are for small slow cookers and partially because the recipes are just really really good.

Vanilla Hazelnut Creamer - this was my only failure from the book, the recipe itself was really good and tasted fantastic, but my blender isn't great and left the creamy very grainy. I would make this again but only if I had a much better blender:

 Carrot Cake Rice Pudding - I had this for breakfast Sunday morning and it was delightful, packed with flavour but not too heavy:

Italian Seitan Coins - These were made for use in other recipes, they cooked really well, had a great texture and tasted great, the only problem I had was that the recipe made so much that when they were cooking they lifted the lid of the slow cooker!

Italian Seitan Coins with Mashed Cauliflower & Gravy - This recipe is a complete meal made in the slow cooker and was delicious, the seitan in gravy was gorgeous and the veg complimented it perfectly:

Leftovers for lunch the next day:

Italian Seitan & Pepper Stew - This recipe was really simple but packed with flavour, low calorie & easy to make. What else could you ask for?

Tomatillo & White Bean Chili - I had to use standard tomatoes for this as I could not get tomatillos, I don't think it made much of a difference though as the recipe was great. It doesn't state that any water/broth should be used in the recipe, and I made the stupid mistake of throwing some in anyway (partially because my slow cooker gets so hot it could be compared to the surface of the sun) which made the recipe very thin. I ended up throwing it in a pan and simmering it for 30 minutes to get rid of the excess liquid, however once that was done it was great:

Indian Mashed Veggie Sandwich - I really enjoyed this, I served it with a tortilla wrap and it was like a curry burrito, the leftover I will be serving with rice as an alternative to curry tomorrow:

Cheezy Butternut Squash Macaroni - This was probably my favourite recipe from the book, I don't usually like butternut squash, but this was excellent. The butternut gave the texture of cheese, the nutritional yeast replaced the flavour and it made an excellent, tasty & filling dinner:

Overall I loved this book, all of the recipes worked really well (or would have without my meddling) and tasted fantastic. I came home every night this week to a delicious smelling house with a meal almost ready for me. 
Personally I loved the recipes in Kathy's first book but I think this book is probably best for houses where there is a lone vegan as the recipes make enough for dinner, with leftovers for lunch the next day but without the hassle of halving/quartering recipes which is what I did with the first book.
This will definitely be making it into my 10 favourite cookbooks 

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Cookbook Challenge Week 42 - Chloe's Kitchen

This week I have been cooking from Chloe's Kitchen by Chloe Coscarelli:

I got this book a few months ago on the recommendation of a few friends and all I can say is I'm glad I did:

Thyme for creamy scalloped potatoes - This was my least favourite dish, not because there was anything wrong with the recipe but it didn't taste brilliant because of a 45 minute delay getting home thanks to a certain train company so it was a bit over done. It was potatoes layered with a cashew garlic & thyme cream sauce, it was still tasty despite the condition but I would like to make it again and cook it for the appropriate time. On a plus note it was wheat and soya free:

Best ever baked macaroni & cheese  - This is where things started picking up, the recipe for this is really simple but has a few ingredients in that I haven't put in mac & cheese before that really added something extra (such as tomato paste). It was full of flavour and very filling:

Easy Peasy Pasta Salad - This recipe was excellent, a homemade tomato sauce made using potato (it adds a great texture), flavouring and oil (I used carrot oil to add extra red). I made the sauce on Sunday, refrigerated it, made some pasta on Monday and chilled that for when I got home late on Tuesday. The sauce lasted well and the whole dish was great. I served it with salad & some chicken style seitan:
Barley Bliss Casserole - I put this together the night before & got a family member to shove it in the oven as I was on my way home, when I first tasted it I though it was a bit tasteless. However I went to check my emails, came back and after it had cooled a little it was delicious. It reminded me of the mushroom barley from Happy Herbivore Abroad but was not quite as nice, still a great winter casserole for cold nights though:

Pancakes for dinner - This recipe is divine. It has surpassed Happy Herbivores pancake recipe, it even contains no oil and is sweetened with maple syrup. Just brilliant:

Cheesey Broccoli Soup - Fantastic recipe! I left out the sour dough bowls its supposed to be served it, preferring a standard bowl. The soup itself was full of flavour, very cheesey (mostly from the nooch) and very filling. Definitely one to make again:

Sea salt toffee bars - I made these as a last ditch attempt at making a dessert after screwing up 2 other recipes (Brownies and blondies from different cookbooks), I didn't think the recipe was going to work but it came together well (and rather quickly) and made a delicious bar thats a bit like a salty millionaires shortbread. The only change I would make is to remove the cinnamon from the base, I think it detracts from the flavour. Whats also great about this recipe is that they freeze really well:

Overall this is a great book, some of the recipes are really innovative, I enjoyed all the dishes I made and I have a long list of others that I want to try (there is a burger recipe thats crying out to be tried).

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Cookbook Challenge Week 41 - Vegan Rustic Cooking

This week I have been cooking from Vegan Rustic Cooking by Diana White:

Chocolate & Orange Marmalade Buns - I really looked forward to these, they have no added sugar (except the Marmalade & Apple Juice used in the recipe) which is great for a diabetic, however they were not great. Bland and really a let down, the texture was great but if I make these again a good splodge of sugar/agave/coconut sugar might be called for:

Onion & Mushroom Tart - this was good - full of mushrooms, onions & the hazelnuts really gave it a special touch, I used quite a strong flavoured soya milk when making this so I will use something more flavourless in future, other than that I can't fault it:

Chestnut Crumble - This was quite a sweet dish (there is both chestnuts & apple in it) and was really good, I think its one of those dishes that would taste better on a really cold night curled up next to the fire:

Moussaka Vegan Style - I have never tried moussaka before so have nothing to compare this too, but it was very very tasty. Its a layer of roasted veg, a layer of aubergine, a layer of tomato & lentils with a final layer of soy yoghurt sprinkled with ground almonds. It was full of flavour, the only issue I had was the consistency, after being baked the lentil/tomato sauce layer was quite think with liquid collecting every time I took a spoonful out. I think a bit of cornflour wouldn't go amiss with the sauce, but other than that its a great and very filling recipe:

Cream of Pea Soup - I had to try this recipe  - it looked so simple and interesting being made with tinned processed peas and I have to admit its my second favourite recipe in the book. It was full of flavour and I will definitely be making this again:

Irish Stew with Dumplings  - this was my favourite recipe, it is the first stew recipe that tastes like the non-vegan stew my mum makes, I was a little dubious about the dumplings at first (they are made with marg, then baked before being cooked in the stew) and I was secondly dubious when I used M&S reduced fat margarine which shouldn't be used for cooking as they came out of the over like bullets. However after cooking in the stew for 5-10 minutes they were wonderful. I will be making this recipe again very soon:

Overall I really did like this book, the recipes fall into categories like "Spring-Summer" or "Autumn" or "Autumn-Winter" using ingredients in season which is a great help in keeping food costs down, but more importantly the recipes I tried were tasty, filling and pretty healthy. A good book for any Vegans cookbook collection