Sunday, 15 November 2009

Danish Peasant Girl with a Veil

This is a version of a pudding we used to make often when I was a child. We're not Danish so I don't know where we got the recipe from. Maybe the recipe itself isnt even Danish. Anyway it's called Danish Peasant Girl with a Veil and it's very yummy.

Stew chopped apples with cloves (and sugar if they're cooking apples). When soft, set aside to cool. Tear up four pieces of stale white bread into very small pieces or blitz it in a food processor. Melt about 2 tbsp of margarine in a frying pan and add the bread pieces to it. Sprinkle with plenty of brown sugar and fry on a medium heat until the bread pieces are golden brown, crispy and chewy. Layer the bread into serving dishes with the cooled stewed apple and cream, then sprinkle with chocolate chips of shavings.

I used Provamel cream here and plain chocolated chips but we used to make it with double cream and crumbled Cadbury's Flake. I think next time I'll try thick vegan cream like Soyatoo and chocolate shavings to try and get closer to those childhood puddings! Why doesn't anybody make a plain chocolate Flake? :(

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Natural grocery haul and cream cheese thesis

Yesterday I went to the Natural Grocery Store in Cheltenham. I love that shop because they have a huge range of stuff and they play relaxed old fashioned tunes.They also stay open late which would be really handy if I lived near enough to it. I think of it as something approaching an English Trader Joe's*. I wish we had Trader Joe's here or that at least they did mail order. The Natural Grocery Store is ahead of Trader Joe's in that respect. Check out there online store here.

I bought four Nana's cookies but I'd eaten the peanut butter one before I took this picture. I adore Nana's cookies! 
I also bought Granovita salad cream because I've never seen vegan salad cream before, only mayonaisse. I love it. To me it tastes exactly like the Heinz stuff I used to have on iceberg lettuce as a kid. I slathered it all over dinner last night and this evening too.

The thing I was most excited about though was the Provamel soft cheese. I've only ever seen one brand of vegan cream cheese, Tofutti. I love Tofutti but it's fairly pricey. Then yesterday I saw this Provamel spread and another one made by Pure. I didn't buy the one by Pure because I'm not mad keen on Pure margarine or their cheese slices. I bought the Provamel one because I usually love everything made by them. When I got home and tried it I was dissappointed! I suppose I had built it up too much for myself. It tastes fine, but it doesn't taste like cream cheese. It's more like a thick garlic yogurt ... which is a little odd. To be fair, it doesn't say anywhere on the packet that it's a cream cheese substitute. Anyway, now I'm on the lookout for Swedish Soft, which I've read good things about but haven't managed to find anywhere yet.
But enough about cream cheese. I started talking to Chris about it last night until we both agreed I should get a life! However I reckon that if I'm going to air my views on the subject anywghere then it has to be here!

* This reminds me of Chris's great idea. Why aren't there any green grocer/health food shops in this country that stay open late and have car parks? If there were, people would be able to use them the way they use supermarkets. Most people work all day every day it's hard to get to green grocers or health food shops so they end up going to supermarkets instead of supporting the local traders. I reckon Trader Joe's style shops would work really well in the UK but nobody's done it yet. I'd do it myself but frankly I can't be arsed.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Nut roast

Well I haven't blogged for ages and I've got some photos that have accumulated over the past couple of weeks and I can't remember what I wanted to say about them. However I do remember that the best thing about this nut roast (apart from yumminess) was that it was very very easy. I used our mini copper to chop all the ingredients then chucked them in the pan, frying in a little oil. Then I pressed it into a dish and baked it for half an hour or so and that was it. I can't remember exactly what went in it now but it was something like: an onion, two carrots, a pepper, two tomatoes (helped make it moist enough to stick together), a good load of breadcrumbs and a handful each of brazil nuts and walnuts. I did't even add salt or sices and it was really tasty.

We had it with oven chips and steamed broccoli on the first day. The next day Tabitha and I met Chris from his work for lunch. It was raining hard and cold outside so we drove to a nearby common and sat in the car. We had the nut roast leftovers in sandwiches with tomato and almond butter. They were scrummy and helped make sitting in a steamy car for half an hour quite good fun.

Tabitha can't tackle a sandwich yet but she enjoyed her mashed carrot and sweet potato with a little of my bread. She only has two teeth but she loves holding the bread herself and nibbling on it because I think it makes her feel like a big girl.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Halloween curry night

We had some friends over on Saturday for curry. I carved a pumpkin, as it was Halloween, but I didn't use the flesh for curry. I've frozen it to use for something else.

The curries were good but I didn't manage to get photographs in time. I will include some recipes anyway and you'll have to imagine what they may have looked like before they were half eaten! Clockwise from top right: Shakeel's amazing yellow split pea dhal; aloo saag; Maddhur Jaffrey's south Indian cabbage; rice with peas, ginger and cinnamon; and seitan vindaloo in the middle.

The star of the show was the seitan vindaloo. Not only does it sound mean but it tasted wicked too. I adapted it from this recipe. I subbed seitan instead of meat and left out the fennel because I didn't have any. I halved the amount of garlic and doubled the number of chillies.

The photo below shows the rice with a piece of Maddhur Jaffrey's mung bean pancakes. These pancakes are fab. The texture is chewy, almost like fried egg and they're really tasty. I'll include the recipe here because it's already on the internet elsewhere. It's from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian Cookbook which is a really lovely book full of brilliant stuff.

Maddhur Jaffrey's mung bean pancakes

1 cup mung beans
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
1/2 cup water, plus soaking water
Soak the mung beans overnight. Drain and rinse.

Blend all the ingredients except the spring onions, tomato and coriander in a blender until smooth.
Stir in spring onions, tomato and coriander.
Add a little oil to a large, lidded frying pan and place over a medium heat. When hot, pour about 1/3 cup of the batter into pan. Spread out with a spoon to form a pancake. Put the lid on the pan and let it cook for a couple of minutes antil the top seems cooked. Turn the pancake over (the underside should be a reddish colour) and cook the other side for a minute of so.

The rice recipe is one of my favourite ways to cook rice. If you look at the link, it says it serves 4 but actually it's more like 6-8. I use oil instead of butter or ghee.

For afters we had blueberry cheesecake which is my sister's recipe and is just the most amazing thing ever. I love it to bits and whenever I make it I want to make it again straight away!

My sister's most amazing cheesecake

For the base:
10 digestive biscuits
1 tbsp margarine, melted

For the middle:
1 tub Tofutti cream cheese (original, not garlic, duh)
1/2 cup soya milk
1/2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla essense

For the topping:
blueberry jam

Crush the biscuits, mix with the melted margarine and press into a loose bottomed cake tin. Blend all the ingredients for the middle and pour over the base. Bake at 170c (~350F) for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool well before covering in jam and blueberries. Chill before serving.

I sometimes double the amount of the filling to make a lovely deep cheesecake but I forgot this time. Either way this cheesecake is still one of my favourite things in the wholewideworld.