Sunday, 29 June 2014

July Cookbook Review - American Vegan Kitchen

I am posting Julys cookbook review early as I have nothing to do today so decided to get organised.
The review is of American Vegan Kitchen by Tamasin Noyes.

I bought this book a while ago as I love American food, but couldn't decide if I like the book or not. I decided to make 15 things from the book, as usual I will start with my least favourites:

Cashew Cheese
Damn. This was the last recipe I tried and I thought it would be a case of liking all 15 recipes. I was wrong, I didn’t like this at all. It had good potential, but the vinegar added a weird flavour and there was nowhere near enough nooch.

Well thats it, now on to the good stuff

Route 66 Seitan
This was a really good seitan recipe, it was very flavourful and had a good  texture (not too firm and not too chewy), the only downside was that the recipe stated to use vegetable broth, I didn't have any so had to wing it with sage and onion & water etc. I also forgot to take a photo but it can be seen in the sandwich in my birthday post.

Tuna-Free Noodle Casserole
This was fantastic, the recipe is complicated and the ingredients long but the artichoke hearts and other flavours worked together perfectly and made the effort worthwhile. I did cheat somewhat when making this, instead of using cashews I used the cashew cheese sauce from Oh She Glows cookbook  but I don’t think this detracted from the flavour in any way but next time I make it I will follow the recipe to the letter. I googled the recipe a few days later and it would appear I also used too much paprika but I don’t think you can go wrong with paprika

Chinatown Scramble
I have made quite a few scrambles in the last 6 years but thought I would make this as I liked the uniqueness of the ingredients (Beans Sprouts, Chinese 5 Spice, Lime Juice) and I am glad I made it, it was delicious, had a great texture and was very filling.

Sweet Garlicky Ribz
Time for another confession, regarding this recipe I made the seitan exactly according to the recipe, however after reading the sauce recipe I could not justify consuming that much sugar (I am diabetic) unless its in the form of cake, so I used a shop bought BBQ sauce and served it with Pad Thai noodles and veg. That notwithstanding this recipe is absolutely brilliant, the texture of the Ribs was perfect and I thoroughly enjoyed them. I will definitely be making this again.

Mustard Mac Slaw
In wasn't sure about this whilst I was making it, I kept thinking “this is just going to taste of mustard”. I was wrong, this slaw was wonderful, it took me about an hour to figure out what it reminded me of  - its a cross between coleslaw and piccalilli. I thoroughly enjoyed it and have made it since -  I tend to serve it with Seitan Steak.

Home Style Macaroni Salad
This was good, I subbed some of the mayo for soya yoghurt but it was still a really good, quick and simple recipe to throw together after work.

Stovetop Mac and Cheese
I love Mac and Cheese, although this is not my favourite recipe it was very quick and simple, flavourful and not too high in calories. Perfect for a quick weeknight dinner

Seitan Lite
At first I did not like this, the texture was spongy and it didn't have much flavour, however I then realised this is not a recipe to use on its own (in sandwiches or just for stuffing your face with) its a base ingredient along the same lines as plain tofu or tempeh.  If you fry it in a pan it develops a much better texture and if you throw it in a stew or marinate it the seitan really comes into its own. I tried it in numerous recipes but my favourites were pan frying it with Buffalo Wing Sauce and covering it in mushroom gravy. If you are after a good seitan recipe to make a base mock meat then I would recommend this seitan but be forewarned it makes a lot!

BLT Potato Salad
I was intrigued by this recipe, potato salad is not something that I ate much before becoming vegan but something about the idea of this recipe really interested me so I decided to make it. It was brilliant, bursting with flavour it tasted very decadent but wasn't too unhealthy with only a small amount of  mayo . I made my own fake bacon bits instead of using the tempeh bacon recommended in the recipe and I served it with seitan steak and corn on the cob. This is a fab meal that I will be making again. And again.

Deli Style Sandwich
I rarely make sandwiches from cookbooks but this one looked so delicious – Seitan lite (marinated and cooked) with salad and cheesy mayo -  I just had to make it. Again I’m very glad I did, the cheesy mayo was the perfect condiment and made this sandwich a belly filling delight

Noodle Omelette
This was a rather strange recipe – noodles in a tofu omelette mix but somehow it worked (potatoes in Spanish omelettes work so  why not noodles?), it wasn't massively flavourful but was a nice filling meal that I might make again but I would add some additional flavourings – maybe some soya cheese and fake bacon

Red Eye Tofu
I have made Red Eye gravy before and didn't like it, coffee in gravy just didn't do it for me but I decided to try it again and this recipe changed my mind, the tofu was supposed to be made into skewers but I couldn't be bothered after getting home late so just made it as tofu cubes.
It was excellent – warm and full of flavour but not too spicy, I will be making this again

Diner Tempeh Patties
This recipe required blocks of tempeh, I didn’t have any. Just a jar of tempeh chunks so its Diner Tempeh Chunks instead. And they were gorgeous, the recipe is wonderful. I wasn't sure if I would like them because of the maple syrup in the recipe but it worked really well and added an extra layer of flavour (the ketchup and balsamic vinegar were great additions as well). I think if I get some tempeh blocks I will make this again and use it in sandwiches

Tempeh Burgers
These were quite similar to the previous recipe but were rather more savoury with miso (red) and liquid smoke being two of the flavourings. This recipe was nice but I was spoilt by the Diner Tempeh Patties which were far superior in my opinion!

Overall what did I think of this book? In the words of Ron Weasley in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - Bloody Brilliant. One of the best cookbooks I have.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Bank Holiday and Birthday Food

I though I would share a few photos of some nice food I have eaten over the last couple of weeks, on my birthday and last bank holiday:

Birthday Breakfast - Speculoos & Banana on Toast & a Chocolate Hot Cross Bun. Followed by a choc chip cookie from the Ms Cupcake cookbook

Sandwich - Route 66 Seitan (From American Vegan Kitchen), Vegusto Walnut, Spicy Coleslaw and salad

Homemade Chocolate Cake (Cake is from Chloes Kitchen, buttercream was invented by myself). It is also filled with black cherry pie filling and topped with nuts, chocolate chips and the ganache from Chloes Kitchen

Slightly collapsed cake

Steakless steak - I felt like steak last weekend so made this. I made up the recipe using some of my favourite techniques/ingredients. It was great. I scribbled down the recipe and will post it if I can find it:

June Cookbook Review - The Oh She Glows Cookbook

This months cookbook review is of The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon.

I have been eagerly awaiting this book and this is what I thought:

Sunrise Scramble - This was a pretty boring scramble recipe. I have had far better (Skinny Bitch, Authentic Chinese Cuisine, Vegan Brunch to name 3). This just didn’t compete.

On The Mend Spiced Red Lentil Kale Soup - This was a thin and hot soup, it was enjoyable and definitely good for you but not my favourite recipe. A bit lacklustre, but probably just the thing you need if your not well

Indian Lentil Cauliflower Soup - Another boring one, I doubled the spices and it still wasn't great.I wouldn't bother making this again

Eat Your Greens Detox Soup - This was horrible, I didn't take a photo or eat it. Yuk.

Soul Soothing African Peanut Stew - This was good, it had a nice flavour and although it sounds calorie packed it wasn't. A very nice stew, not as good as the recipe in Nut Butter Universe but still good:

Perfected Chickpea Salad Sandwich - This was a good chickpea salad, but not perfect. Not as good as the Sexy Vegans and not as good as my long standing favourite from the PETA Vegan College Cookbook, but still nice anyway

Protein Power Goddess Bowl - This was surprisingly good, I didn’t think it would be (its bone achingly healthy) but the dressing is divine and really made this dish. Definitely one to make again.

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes and Easy Mushroom Gravy - This was good, the mash was filling and tasty and the gravy made it feel sinful. The gravy was not as good as others I have tried (Happy Herbivore Light and Lean being the current fave), but definitely very good.

Crowd Pleasing Tex Mex Casserole - Was this crowd pleasing? Damn Yeah. It was good in a “I want to lick the plate clean even with an entire room full of people watching” way. Full of flavour and some of my favourite things (rice, tortillas etc)  - this is definitely worth making

Spa Day Bircher Muesli  - I have read (and tried) the original recipe for Bircher Muesli in Maximillian Bircher-Benner’s book Prevention Of Incurable Disease and I have to say the Oh She Glows version is a big improvement (being Vegan is a major one). This recipe is absolutely flawless, filled with flavour & texture (from dried fruits & seeds) this recipe is a must.

Apple Pie Oatmeal - Divine, flavour filled (apple oatmeal, cinnamon, walnut, coconut) and a wonderful breakfast on a winters morning.

Broccoli & Cashew Cheese Quinoa Burrito - This was really good, the cashew cheese sauce was excellent and made this dish delightful. I used the sauce in another recipe (American Vegan Kitchens No Tuna Noodle Casserole) and it worked there as well.

Overall, I did like this book. Some of the recipes were not great but the ones that were good completely tipped the scales and were brilliant.There are a few recipes that I still want to try (chocolate cake, all the other breakfasts, tomato basil pasta, salt and vinegar chickpeas, glo bars, fudgy mocha pudding cake, yolos). I think its a good book, very healthy and worth buying, but a few of the recipes are misses.