Monday, September 29, 2014

A closing Vegan MoFo post - recipes from elsewhere and a final recap here


Today is the last of my 2014 Vegan MoFo posts. I know there is another day of September tomorrow, but I am treating this as the tail end of the month and concluding it with this round up / wrap up summary.

Other than one forgotten Friday post that was published on a Saturday, I have shared posts on 5 weekdays each week for the last 4 weeks. Advance preparation (particularly for the first 2 weeks) meant that it wasn't too hard. However, I will be pleased to return to less frequent posting now. Three or four posts a week is a better fit for me, and also seems more useful. I am not sure that anyone needs or wants a recipe from me every day of the week!

All in all, I am glad to have participated in Vegan MoFo again, and I've enjoyed the other MoFo posts that I've read. I am including a selection of appealing examples below (Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe did a similar round up over the weekend, so check out her list for additional ideas). After that, I have a final summary of my own posts from this month.

Vegan MoFo recipes from elsewhere



Ghetto hummus (chickpeas left whole!) from Mad Hatter's Pantry

Hearty Colcannon (a potato dish on a chickpea pancake) from Real Food + Travel

Vegan MoFo posts from Bite-Sized Thoughts


A good many of my favourites are in the dessert section, but I did also enjoy making Moroccan and Ethiopian dishes for the first time, and discovering vegan French toast!

I'm looking forward to returning with some more general posts later this week...

Do you have any favourites from my last month of recipes, or other Vegan MoFo posts you've read?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Vegan lemon meringue pie


I think I may have reached the pinnacle of my baking adventures. Right now, I can't think of anything more magical than this lemon meringue pie. It has the requisite crisp base, zesty set centre, and fluffy - so fluffy! - meringue topping. And it is vegan. I wasn't confident going in, but can now say that meringue without eggs really is possible!

I knew I wanted to make a lemon meringue pie for Vegan MoFo, but this wasn't one of the dishes I prepared ahead of time. In fact, I only made it this week. I was worried it wouldn't work, or that I'd be up all night repeating my efforts if the first pie failed.

In the end, it was oddly easy. I made the meringue topping with egg replacer - a hefty 1/3 cup of it - which was whipped for 5 minutes with water while gradually adding sugar. In other words, it was just like making regular meringue. The same was true for the rest of the pie. There is a lot of sugar and the recipe is a little bit time consuming, but the end result is very much worth it. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Montezuma's chocolate and cafe, Kingston Upon Thames


Last week, we went on an extended looping outing that incorporated Kingston Upon Thames to the south-west of London, and Morden to the south. Kingston had a few bike shops that we wanted to visit, and turned out to be a delightful area in all sorts of ways (river, parks, cycle paths galore, nice shops, Hampton Court Palace...). Morden is home to Morden Hall Park, run by the National Trust.

River Thames at Kingston Upon Thames

While wandering Kingston, we stumbled across a store and cafe for Montezuma's Chocolates. I have mentioned Montezuma's before, and you may remember me raving about their dark chocolate with orange and geranium back in August. As a family run British business that focuses on innovative chocolate made with fair trade ingredients, there is a lot to love about the brand. They also produce a lot of vegan bars - their dark chocolate blocks are dairy free and they go to the effort of labeling products as vegan when they are. So, I was pretty delighted to find an actual Montezuma's store.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fruity chocolate marshmallow dessert pizza


I have long been fascinated by dessert pizza. As a child, it seemed like a brilliant idea - why not take pizza and improve it with chocolate and marshmallows and other sweet things? And yet, somehow, I never actually tried it. In childhood, external factors no doubt played a role in this. In adulthood, I think I always went for other desserts. More recently, foods with gelatin-containing marshmallows have been off the menu (and most dessert pizzas seem to include marshmallows).

Now that I can buy vegan marshmallows, it seemed the perfect time to indulge my childhood fantasy and make a dessert pizza at home. The pictures in this post do not do it justice - please accept my apologies for the lighting - but the pizza was every bit as gooey and sweet and satisfying as I had imagined. For my Australian readers who don't have access to vegan mallows, some dairy free white chocolate would be a possible alternative for the topping.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Lemon-tahini potato fudge


I had originally planned to make traditional, but vegan, fudge for this post. We have been watching the BBC show Sweets Made Simple, and every episode features a delightful mix of hot sugar, a candy thermometer, and magical bubbling that somehow results in a decadent treat. I wanted to have a go.

Lemon-tahini potato fudge

Sadly, my candy thermometer is with our shipment, and as we have established, that is not yet with us. I switched my thoughts to something that would not require a candy thermometer. For a while, I was focused on sweet potato and tahini fudge. From there, it was an easy jump to this lemon-tahini potato fudge. It's not very traditional. It is, however, strangely moreish.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Liquorice cake


I am quite excited to share this recipe, and for that matter, to start this final, dessert-focused week of Vegan MoFo.

There is some symmetry in starting this week with liquorice cake. After all, it was liquorice cake that kick started my 2012 Vegan MoFo posts. Back then, the liquorice cake was provided by York's Goji Cafe. Today, I am sharing a homemade version.

Vegan liquorice cake

There is another twist to this post. It is, truth be told, two years late. After starting my 2012 MoFo posts with a review of liquorice cake, I wanted to finish the series with a homemade version that you could all enjoy. I researched possible recipes, bought Dutch liquorice to give a full-bodied liquorice flavour, and attempted what I thought could be a great cake.

What went wrong? In a nutshell, salted liquorice. Yes. Truly. By mistake, I bought Dutch salted liquorice and put it in my 2012 cake without realising my error. Unusually, I also made that cake without tasting the uncooked batter. It was only when the mix was in the oven and I tried a leftover (salted) liquorice piece that I realised the problem. Suffice to say, the cake was not good. In fact, it was quite bad.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Ethiopian food - injera with spiced red lentils


I have wanted to make Ethiopian food for ages. It seems to have become a bit of a 'thing', or at least a cuisine I have seen featured more in recent years. There are even some vegan Ethiopian stalls around London's weekend markets. Possibly I should have tried their offerings before I attempted to make Ethiopian at home, but as it is, I jumped straight in. I don't know how authentic my results were, but they certainly gave a different dish to anything I'd eaten before!

Those of you who are familiar with Ethiopian no doubt know that the above plate is not particularly authentic. Injera flat bread is usually used to scoop up food, or as a 'plate' for the meal, rather than as a wrap. The background vegetables (kale, carrot sticks and red pepper) are also a little out of place. Still, the focus of the dish was thoroughly in Ethiopia, and I am hoping you won't begrudge me some hastily assembled vegetable sides!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Vegan pizza from Pizza Express and Zizzi


Vegan pizza. It has never been a big deal to me, because my general dislike of cheese means I am quite happy to have my pizzas cheese free. However, I know it is a big deal to some. If you like cheese, pizza may be one of the best ways to eat it. Plus, pizza is a social food. Avoiding it because you're vegan is not fun. Being seen as odd by restaurant staff who have never thought to leave cheese off a pizza - and there have been times when someone has come out to check not once, not twice, but three times if I really wanted my cheese left off - is also not fun.

The view from London's Canary Wharf Zizzi restaurant

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sesame crusted carrot noodles


Today's dish is a simple one, and perhaps more of a side than an actual main meal. It would go very well with the teriyaki tofu of my last post. Perhaps that is why these carrot noodles came out more Japanese than Thai: I set out with the idea of Thai carrot noodles and finished with something a bit different. Sometimes cooking is like that.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Teriyaki tofu


From Morocco, we are off to Japan. I concede that Japanese food is not quite as exotic - I think most of us have had it, even if only in a shopping centre foodhall. However, Japan is another place I hope to visit one day, and teriyaki dishes don't seem to be as ubiquitous in London as they are in Australia. Mr Bite, in particular, is missing his fortnightly teriyaki meal.

I have one previous teriyaki recipe on the blog (teriyaki tofu steaks with cauliflower rice) but Vegan MoFo seemed a good time to add another. I wanted the teriyaki flavours to stand out, and the tofu pieces to be small and crispy. I served the tofu with rice, of course. In a non-traditional twist, I also added stir fried onion, carrots and pepper to the tofu, to give a decent vegetable hit to the meal.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Moroccan tagine


For this third week of Vegan MoFo, I am shifting to main meal options. Several of this week's posts focus on cuisines that I have long admired but barely tried. Today is an example: we are travelling to Morocco, a country that is high on my places to visit even aside from its edible appeal.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Dark chocolate and espresso roast almonds


I had intended to hit publish on this last night, but after a hectic day at work, it completely slipped my mind. Fortunately, the timing of blog posts is not a life or death affair, and so we have this post today instead.

As for the recipe I'm sharing, I could have titled it "mocha" instead of the longer name you see above. However, I wanted to capture the semi-sweet, entirely adult nature of these almonds, and mocha just didn't do it. Dark chocolate and espresso, on the other hand, did.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Tide Tables Café, Richmond


Today's post steps away from recipes to give a snack-themed review. Richmond, to the south west of London, is one of those leafy, refined areas where we would love to live but probably never will. (The cost!) It has its own Whole Foods, plenty of other shops, parkland, and a particularly scenic stretch of the Thames River. Right next to the river is Tide Tables Café, which we visited a month or so ago in the height of summer.

Outside seating - just beyond is the river.

Tide Tables is fully vegetarian and has lots of vegan options. It is tucked under the arch of a bridge, and most seating is outside, making it summer appropriate but perhaps less ideal in winter. There are some seats inside, but the outlook from the outdoor area is beautiful and one of the highlights of the cafe. There are several large trees providing dappled shade, and beyond is the river, complete with colourful boats. The café welcomes dogs, and even allows you to consume your own food at their tables.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Carob latte


Today's post brings a very simple recipe, for the simple reason that in this case, simple worked best. (Enough simples in that sentence?) I initially made a carob and lucuma powder latte, but contrary to my expectations I didn't like it at all. I am not sure if carob and lucuma aren't the stellar combination I thought they would be, or if they just don't work in hot drink form. Regardless, for my second carob hot drink, I went back to basics and kept the flavours simple. Carob.

Now, I do know that many of you proclaim to dislike carob. I doubt this will be the post to convince you otherwise. Personally, I love it (love it), and was delighted to quench my carob desires when I visited London's largest Planet Organic store last month. I managed to buy carob powder, dairy and sugar free carob buttons, and two dairy free carob blocks. It was a happy day.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Barbecue inspired nori snacks


Have you tried roast nori snacks? They are incredibly moreish, and very easy to make. In principal I'd like to make them monthly or even weekly, but in reality I get to them far less often. I am not sure why - in addition to tasting great, this is a snack with near endless flavour possibilities.

Today's batch of roast nori pieces are barbecue flavoured, although as I'm doubting what technically constitutes "barbecue", I'm calling them "barbecue inspired" to be safe! Certainly if you ate these next to store bought barbecue crisps, you would notice some flavour differences: these snacks are subtler in flavour and not as salty or sweet.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Vegan chocolate coated banana chips, from scratch


I have raved about coated banana chips before. They don't really exist in Australia, but I discovered them on a UK holiday when I was 14 and have been a huge fan ever since. You can buy them here in yogurt coated and chocolate coated varieties, and as highlighted in my July In My Kitchen post, a dairy free chocolate option also exists. I haven't seen vegan yogurt coated pieces, but did make my own vegan version of those to commemorate 100 posts on Bite-Sized Thoughts. They tasted fantastic, although the coating was a little soft and required refrigeration to avoid melting.

Whilst I can buy dairy free chocolate coated banana chips, nutritionally they aren't too great. For a start, the banana chips themselves are fried in palm oil and sweetened with sugar. The chocolate coating has more palm oil and more sugar. They are dangerously easy to eat, but a long way from fresh bananas and straightforward cocoa!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Chickpea pancake with spicy kale and mango


I didn't intend to share two mango breakfasts this week. In fact, my original plan for this dish was a chickpea pancake with a kale and apple filling. I was going to saute the apple until soft, and perhaps add some nutmeg or cinnamon to the mix. However, it is mango season here - despite the mangoes being imported because the UK is not at all a tropical country - and last week I bought 5 mangoes for £1 ($1.70). I hope you'll forgive me for indulging in as much mango as I can.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Tips for a vegan breakfast on the go


In Australia, I rarely ate breakfast at home during the working week. This was largely due to a preference for early work starts, and my gym being located adjacent to one of my two workplaces. As I prefer early exercise too, it made sense to go directly from gym to desk.

Incaberry oat breakfast bars

If you'd asked me 6 months ago, I would have said that breakfast at work was no harder than breakfast at home. It is only now that I can eat breakfast at home during the working week, thanks to different work routines in my new job, that I realise my old breakfasts weren't always that great. Smoothies, buckwheat porridge, cooked porridge, pancakes, vegan French toast...none of those featured on my Australian workdays. It is more limiting to have breakfast out of the house, and if I did it again now, I would try harder to ensure my work-based breakfasts were more enjoyable. That includes the way I eat breakfast, not just the content.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Mango coconut buckwheat breakfast pudding


I have shared several other buckwheat porridge recipes over the last six months, so you may wonder why this recipe deserves to be included with my Vegan MoFo posts. The main reason, in a nutshell, is that I really liked it! Moreover, unlike my previous buckwheat porridge recipes, this dish is super smooth - definitely more of a pudding than a porridge. If you are hesitant about trying raw buckwheat breakfasts, I definitely recommend this as a first step.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Homemade apple and strawberry muesli


I only 'discovered' muesli last year, when we visited Australia's Daintree region. Our accommodation included breakfast, and my vegan-friendly option was muesli with a generous quota of dried tropical fruits. Contrary to all my muesli beliefs, I liked it! In addition to the tropical fruits, I appreciated the oats being only lightly toasted - just enough to give a slight crisp without hiding the underlying texture and flavour of the oats. I realised that my muesli stereotypes were based on supermarket mueslis, and there were other, better, options out there.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Vegan French toast


I think I was about 12 before I realised that French toast was the same as the 'eggy bread' I grew up with. Apparently other names for the dish include 'gypsy toast' and 'omelette bread'. I think we can probably agree that French toast sounds the most sophisticated!

Whatever you call it, this dish is traditionally made by dipping bread in a mix of egg and milk, and frying until cooked. As a child, it was an occasional special breakfast, perhaps for a birthday or during school holidays. On those occasions, my siblings and I always topped our eggy bread with a generous amount of golden syrup. In my very young years, eggy bread was even an occasional dinner (minus the golden syrup). It was one of the few ways I enjoyed eggs, and it was one of the earliest dishes I learnt how to make.