Sunday, 15 March 2015

The Vegan Slow Cooker Week 1

I've cooked from this before and enjoyed it more than Kathy's other book (Vegan Slow Cooking For 2 Or Just For You), I will be revisiting some old favourites and trying out some new recipes. This week I have made 3 recipes. Here's what I thought:

Creamy Potato Soup
This is a new recipe for me and it was OK, it had a nice flavour and was quite filling. It reminded me of a much thinner mash potato. It was good, but not something I would make again

Soy Chorizo Black Bean Stew
I made this last time and forgot how good it was, I used the same ingredients as last time (Wheaty Space Bar Chorizo for the Chorizo etc) and really enjoyed it, it was full of flavour and warmth but without too much fire. Great recipe (it doesn't look good, but you can always eat it with your eyes closed):

Meatless Sausage and Mushroom Ragout
This was my favourite recipe of the week, I wasn't sure if I would like it but when I arrived home it smelled delicious and tasted great. I used Linda McCartney Red Onion & Rosemary sausage for the sausages and they worked brilliantly. As with the Chorizo Stew I will be making this again:

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Vegan Slow Cooking For 2 Or Just For You Last Week

This is the last week that I am cooking from this book, I have made three final recipes and come to the end of the list of 24 things I wanted to make.
This week I have made

Eggplant Tapenade:
This was quite tasty, I had to substitute green bell pepper for the olives (I like olives about as much as quinoa). It was quite filling, I don't think I will make it again but it was nice:

Indian Mashed Veggies:
I made this last time I used the book, this time I didn't mash - just used it as a sort of curry. It was really good, much better than the "Clean out the fridge curry". I served it with rice for a warming, filling midweek dinner:

Black Pepper Portobello:
This was the surprise of the week, I'm not a fan of using mushrooms as an actual main course (serving a whole mushroom as a burger etc), but this was surprisingly good. The flavours were excellent. I really enjoyed this

Overall I have enjoyed cooking from this book, there were a few disappointments and tasteless recipes but some have blown me away and I will be making them again in future. I think I prefer the other slow cooker book by this author which I will be cooking from again so we'll see!
I have listed my favourites below, those underlined are the ones I will make again without a shadow of a doubt:

Pumpkin Coconut Caramel Sauce
Bold Lemon Pear Spread
Small Batch Brownies
Creamy Tomato Basil Bisque
Italian Seitan (Tempeh) Stew
Pumpkin Caramel Breakfast Barley
Spicy Southern Chickpeas
Potato, Green and Chickpea Curry
Italian Seitan Coins with Mashed Cauliflower and Gravy
New England Tofu Rolls
Italian Seitan Coins
Lentil Quinoa Taco Filler
Black Pepper Portobello

I'm now having a week off from cooking so I will be posting again in a few weeks...

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Vegan Slow Cooking For 2 Or Just For You Week 4

This week I have made another 6 recipes from the book, here are my thoughts:

Mushroom Tempeh over Potatoes and Carrots
This was bloody awful. Tasteless. I poured over a homemade mushroom gravy to make it passable but I will never be making this again

Chocolate Pumpkin Brownie Breakfast Quinoa:
I subbed the quinoa for oats as I hate quinoa, the recipe was still not great, very bitter. I added a shed load of sweetner which improved it somewhat, but not a meal I want again

Lentil Quinoa Taco Filler:
As stated I hate quinoa, but I actually left it in this recipe with hope that all the flavours would drown out the terrible quinoa, it turned out really well. It was full of flavour and very filling. I served it in lettuce tacos with salad & potatoes on the side

Italian Seitan and Pepper Stew:
I have made this before using seitan and it was great, this time I used tempeh and it was even better. The texture was more meaty and it was really delicious

Pumpkin Coconut Caramel Sauce:
I have never tried pumpkin before, but had a taste before making this. It tasted like butternut squash and I really couldn't see how it would work in a sweet recipe. Nevertheless the Breakfast Barley recipe called for it so I ploughed on. I was very very wrong. This sauce is the outstandingly good, one of the best recipes in the book it tasted like lotus biscuit spread but in a more runny (lower calorie) format. I have used it several times this week, on the following recipe, with plain soygurt, in chocolate puddings, with nakd bars dipped in, on ice cream, straight out the slow cooker with a spoon, baked into a chocolate tart and on my Thursday night almond porridge. Fantastic recipe.

Pumpkin Caramel Breakfast Barley
Another great recipe, really simple (although I used sweetened almond milk instead of unsweetened), I made a half batch and my slow cooker had this done in 90 minutes on high. I had it as a lunch on Sunday with the required Pumpkin Coconut Caramel Sauce and I really loved it.

Pumpkin Coconut Caramel Sauce served with almond milk porridge & chocolate chips

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Vegan Slow Cooking For 2 Or Just For You Week 3

This week I have cooked 6 recipes from this book, here's what I though:

Spicy Southern Chickpeas
This was a lovely recipe, quite spicy, packed with flavour and perfect with a big sausage roll

Clean out the fridge curry
Bloody awful.Will never make this again (its the pie of veg at the bottom of the photo)

Old Fashioned Tomato & Veg soup
This was a good recipe, more filling than normal soup (potatoes always help with that). I subbed the Okra for Cabbage because I hate Okra. I served it with more potatoes, broccoli & vegg for dipping

New England Tofu Rolls
I didn't expect to like these but they were really good, creamy and spicy at the same time they were filling and substantial sandwiches

Bold Lemon Pear Spread
Excellent recipe, very similar to lemon curd. It was quite thin (probably because I only cooked it for 3 hours and because I left out the silken tofu). In future I would reduce the lemon a bit, maybe add more arrowroot to thicken it more, but overall a really tasty spread and very good on the calories. The recipe made about 300 grams with a total calorie count of 216 calories (thats 72 cals per 100 G). I have been using this on lots of things - bread, toast, plain yoghurt, porridge and if there is any left I will be using it on pancakes on Tuesday

And finally - Small Batch Brownies
I made these in the oven because my history of using slowcookers for cakes/cookies is bad. I divided the recipe by 3 to make 1 big single serving. It was lovely, cooked really well and tasted great. I would cook it for a few minutes less in future to make it more gooey inside (I just like gooey brownies).  I served it with Booja Booja Vanilla "Ice Cream":

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Slow Cookers

This is a quick post regarding slow cookers, my usual slow cooker is a 2.4 litre Crockpot which I love. But sometimes I find it a bit big for one person so have been looking for a smaller 1 litre version.
Eventually I found a company called Team who make a 1liter, super compact slow cooker so I ordered one. I have to say its brilliant, it cooks food just as well as the Crockpot but makes much less and takes less room.
I will still be using my Crockpot for bigger recipes (making batches of food or making seitan) but this little guy is my new favourite kitchen gadget. If you're looking for a small, 1-2 person slow cooker I can't recommend this highly enough:
Click here to have a look at the companys website

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Vegan Slow Cooking For 2 Or Just For You Week 2

This week I have cooked another 4 recipes from this book and have enjoyed it much more than last week:

Banana Fosters For Breakfast
OK I have to admit that I baked this in the oven. This is for 2 reasons, firstly I reduced it down to a 1 person serving, secondly my history with slow cooking these types of recipes is bad and usually ends up with the smoke alarms going off
So what was the recipe like? Really tasty, filling and moreish. A great breakfast for a cold morning

Can't Be Beat Curried Bean Dip
I really didn't think this would be good, but it tasted great. Warming and spicy without too much heat. A nice recipe but be warned it does make a mess of the slow cooker

Potato, Green and Chickpea Curry
I love this. It was quite watery for a curry, but the flavour was excellent. I really enjoyed this

Creamy Green Chili Corn Chowder
Again I really loved this, it was full of flavour. I did reduce the amount of chili quite a bit, but it still packed a punch.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Cookbook Challenge - The Chosen Books

I have been thinking over the last month about precisely which books I want to cook from and I think I have come up with a preliminary list, I'm posting here primarily as a record for myself as there is a good chance I will loose the list. The top 9 are the ones I want to cook from first, other than that I have no order decided for the rest (those books underlined are books I have not cooked from or posted about before)

Happy herbivore holidays and gatherings
Slow cooking for two or just for you
Vegan slow cooking
Vegan diner
American vegan kitchen
World vegan feast
Teff love
Vegan sandwiches save the day
Keep it vegan

Isa does it
Big vegan
Betty goes vegan
Oh she glows
Vegan pizza
Bake and destroy
Skinny bitch in the kitch
Crunk cooking
The uncheese cookbook
Appetite for reduction
Vegan comfort food
Low calorie vegan comfort food
Animal aids favourite recipes
Nut butter universe
Chocolate covered Katie
Thug kitchen
Instead of chicken, instead of turkey

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Vegan Slow Cooking For 2 Or Just For You Week 1

This is the first week of cooking from this book, I've made 5 things and here's what I thought:

Italian Seitan Coins
These were really good, I would cut down the black pepper in future and maybe add some soy flour to soften the texture but as a basic seitan it was good

Roasted Veggies and Seitan
I found this a bit boring, the flavour was lacking so I ended throwing some extras in (nooch, Bragg's etc) which was a big improvement. It was also supposed to contain Tempeh but I didn't have any so I subbed Italian seitan Coins

Basil and Corn Risotto
This tasted really boring, I ended up adding more extras as with the last recipe but I don't think I will be making this again

Italian Seitan Coins with Mashed Cauliflower and Gravy
Fantastic. I made this previously, loved it back then and still feel the same way now

Creamy Tomato Basil Bisque
This was brilliant, one of the best tomato soup recipes ever. In future I would cut down the amount of basil slightly but other than that it was perfect

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Happy Herbivore Holidays and Gatherings Week 3

This week I have cooked 4 things from this book, I was going to cook the Portobello pot roast but ended up not fancying it - I was sick and comfort food was what I ate most of the time

Thanksgiving Loaf:
This was really quite good, very flavourful and filling. I cheated a bit and used instant mash instead of making my own and it worked really well

Thanksgiving Gravy:
Gravy is one of the things that Happy Herbivore gets spot on, this gravy was brilliant and tasted quite similar to the gravy that comes with Tofurky

Mini Soy Free Quiches:
These tasted really good, they didn't actually turn into quiches rather mushy lumps but still tasted good. If I were to make them again I would certainly use less liquid

Hot Chocolate Muffins:
Again these were really good, I used the smallest amount of Cayanne recommended and it gave them a small warm kick at the end. Really quite enjoyable:

This is my last week cooking from this book, I have enjoyed most of the recipes. Most were filling and full of flavour but I have now started to get a little bored with the book and one my primary criticisms of the book is that a lot of the recipes are borrowed from other Happy Herbivore books. Don't get me wrong, some are very original but if you already have the other books I wouldn't bother buying this as a lot of the recipes have been recycled.
From now on I will be cooking from Vegan slow cooking for 2 or just for you

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Happy Herbivore Holidays and Gatherings Week 2

This week I have cooked 8 recipes from this book and lets start with the bad.

Magical Cookies and Chocolate Chip Cookies
Neither of these were great, I burned the magical cookies but that aside both cookies just tasted of apple sauce. I won't be making these again

Carrot Hot Dogs
The less said the better. Not great

A now for the good stuff:

Meatloaf bites
These were pretty tasty and came together really quickly. They didn't knock me off my feet but were a nice change from the norm. I served them with Vegusto seitan, veg, baked potato and Tofurky gravy:

Oatmeal for all occasions
I chose the Back to School PBJ option, it was pretty good but I don't think mixing the jam and peanut butter works well, I think it would be better to mix the peanut butter into the oatmeal and then swirl the jam in.

Skillet Green Bean Casserole
Being English I have never understood the concept of green bean casserole, but I have tried it a few times and this is a pretty good version, its very quick to cook and tastes like mushroom gravy with green beans in

West African Peanut Stew
This is a great recipe, not as good as the version in Nut Butter Universe but this is probably half the calories so taking that into account its pretty damn good, very tasty and filling

PB & J Muffins
These were really great, lovely sponge with a dollop of jam in the middle. The peanut butter taste is not that strong but leaves a lovely after taste. I will be making these again but might try subbing the jam for chocolate spread

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Happy Herbivore Holidays and Gatherings Week 1

This week I have made 7 recipes from this book and here's what I thought

Cauliflower Hot Wings:
I loved these, the flavour was excellent. Not too hot but spicy enough to give a kick

Rueben: This was not the best sandwich I have had but the actual mushroom mix/flavourings was excellent and would be great for flavouring tofu/seitan, but as I served it cold the next day it didn't work as well:

Cowboy Beans and Cornbread
I loved the beans (although I would reduce the chili powder). I will definitely be making these again! The cornbread was good, but a little dry (taking into account the fact that it was almost fat free thats to be expected so it was still a good cornbread recipe):

BBQ Sliders
These were made using cabbage instead of pulled pork, they were OK but didn't really do it for me

Cherry Tart Brownies:
These were really good, next time I may sub the balsamic for water and the molasses for syrup but as they are they were really really good. The recipe should have made 9 servings, but I halved it and it made about 2 1/2 big servings (the one picture only contained 231 calories). I also think the base recipe would be good for other things - eg sub the cherries for dates, cocoa for flour, molasses for syrup/butterscotch and it may make a nice sticky toffee pudding:

Rice Pudding:
Another good recipe! As per the recipe I didn't add sweetner due to the sweetened non dairy milk (Almond in this case) and I did have to add some water to stop it from burning in the pan but this tasted wonderful. I served it for breakfast with sliced banana

As far as this goes, so far so good. Back next week with more...