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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Vegetable Fritters Unfried

Baked Oregano Vegetable Fritters

After school tea time snacks, when I was a kid, varied from French p√Ętisserie to deep fried fritters, not forgetting, when time permitted, Mum's delicious homemade treats. Although we only had these greasy fritters only about once a week, thinking about them today make me cringe. While I do shallow or pan fry occasionally, deep frying is almost non-existent as a means of cooking in my kitchen nowadays. The only time that I do deep fry is when I am make these dal chili cakes that I have yet to develop a baked version for.

Deep fried fritters — (above mentioned) dal chili cakes, bhajis, samoosas, assorted vegetable fritters to mention a few — are sold as a popular street food in Mauritius. Even though they are very much part of the food culture, I cannot bring myself to enjoy them with peace of mind. Food culture or not, I cannot resound to them anymore. A baked version sounds a lot more appealing. And, turns out, they were even tastier.

Baked Vegetable Fritters

Ingredients (about 12 fritters)
5 medium potatoes
2 carrots
3 mushroom
3 stems fresh oregano (or other fresh herbs: coriander, parsley, thyme...)
1 tablespoon oat pulp* (or 2 tablespoons chickpea flour)
2 tablespoons chickpea flour (besan)
1 teaspoon Cool Runnings Seafood Seasoning (if you don't have this, use 1 teaspoon dry vegetable bouillon powder, it will taste different but still good)
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)
Salt to taste

*Oat pulp is the oat fibres that are left after straining oat milk. I keep the pulp to use in many recipes.

  • Grate potatoes and carrots, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Let sit for about 10 minutes then squeeze the liquid out.
  • Cut mushrooms into very small pieces.
  • Mix all the rest of the ingredients.
  • Form balls (the size of a pingpong or just slightly larger), flatten.
  • Heat a pan with a thin coating of oil. When oil is medium-hot place the patties in the pan. You don't want to overcrowd the pan, so leave some room so that you can easily flip the patties on the other side.
  • Pan fry until slightly crisp and golden on either sides.
  • Transfer to the oven and bake at 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Farenheit) for 35-40 minutes, turning the fritters on the other side after 20 minutes.

Baked Oregano Vegetable Fritters

Spicy Bean Dipping Sauce

1/2 cup white cannellini beans, boiled (or chickpeas)
1/3 cup water
1 bird eye red chilli (or 1/2 teaspoon of a chilli paste. I use this one)
1/2 teaspoon paprika powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (or 1/2 teaspoon miso paste)
1/4 teaspoon olive oil (or sesame oil if not allergic)
Salt to taste

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add water if required to thin out the sauce.

Tip: if you want a quicker version, use ready-made humus with the chilli paste, maple syrup and nutritional yeast (you actually don't need a blender then). Dilute with water to a dipping sauce consistency. This takes the boredom out of humus, although it is probably uncommon to get bored of humus (at least in my case with a low-fat or fat-free homemade version).

Baked Oregano Vegetable Fritters

On a sidenote, this powerful video, featuring the Allegory of the Long Spoons, reminded me that sometimes we are so busy with our own lives that we forget to realise how much we really need one another in this world. Caring and reaching out for others can only do us good tenfold.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Hurray for Vegan Watercolor Paint!

The movement of watercolour pigments gliding freely with the water on paper has always captured my fascination of this painting style. Such effortlessness but yet a challenge to produce a believable 2D scenery from several translucent layers — typical of this "loose" style. I realise that really there is no ordinary moment. What seems to be a random flow from a dab of paint actually produces much better results than my controlled brush stroke could ever do.

Am I attracted by the watercolour painting style because of its somewhat "unfinished" aspect that reflects a fact of nature? I could literally lose myself for hours observing the imperfection of nature then translate it into watercolors.

When the guys at Colors of Nature offered to send me a sample card of their colour palette for a review, I was not only more than eager to try their paints but thrilled to hear that they were completely vegan! I had not yet come across an earth-friendly, petroleum-free, cruelty-free paint brand before. So, with much excitement, I awaited the sample colour card to arrive.

I have been painting, like most children, since childhood. But I have kept painting all the way into secondary school. During my final school years, I specialised in watercolour style because, as advised by my art teacher back then, it is a much quicker style once you master the technique. Back in the days, we were mostly working towards being able to finish the art examination in time. So, watercolour proved to be an efficient painting style with that regard. Charmed by the freshness of colors and translucent layering, I soon developed a deep connection toward this style and pretty much clung to it as my favourite even after school. For one thing, it involves much less chemicals compared to oil paints for example; the thinners can be quite sickening after spending several hours around them. But also, watercolors are quite economical; a little paint goes a long way. I now paint for a hobby whenever time permits.

The Colors of Nature palette is quite small with 13 hues, two kinds (light and dark versions) of each: Ochre, Burnt Umber, Raw Sienna and Raw Umber and then Ultramarine Blue, Chromium Green, Natural Red, Burnt Sienna and Titanium White.

I used cold pressed acid-free watercolour paper to try out the paints. Despite the limited palette and the challenge that this presented, the results were absolutely stunning. In contrast with other watercolour paints I have previously used, this brand does not lighten upon drying which is one common aspect of watercolor. This one pretty much keeps the same tone reducing the need for over layering where colors may tend to turn muddy and opaque. I loved the fresher feel and how the paint reacted with the paper. I used all the colours except the Burnt Sienna and Titanium White. I don't usually use white with watercolour except for corrections, so I did not have any use for the white in this painting.

Here's a short video I made while I was trying the paints. I am really looking forward to placing an order for more paints from Colors of Nature and I gladly recommend them. I can now paint with the peace of mind of a 100% vegan environmentally friendly set of colors. The folks at Colors of Nature said they were working on a range of oil paints and extending their palette with more blues, a red, some violets and a bright yellow; I will await these with much anticipation.

By the way, after being pecked at a few times by Boyfriendlovlie, I have decided to put this painting on Society6 if you wanted to get a print (or mobile cover) of it for yourself.

Visit Colors of Nature for more info on their paints and pigments. They have also got a range of kid's paint that is safe for children.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Merry-Go-Veggie-Kids: Wrap-Up

Squirrels gathering twigs and reinforcing their nests? Is it a sign that Fall is now just around the corner? As temperatures are slowly cooling off the remaining Summer month, transitioning into Autumn, we have yet to enjoy a couple more weeks of warm days before the Fall jackets are being pulled off the hangers.
If you have been following the Merry-Go-Veggie-Kids Summer 2014 virtual event throughout the month of July-August, well the time now has come to close the curtains. It has been a fantastic month of featured bloggers sharing with us useful tips, pieces of advice and their delicious kid-friendly recipes.

By the way, this event has inspired me to start a Kid-Friendly Vegan Recipes board on Pinterest. Check it out!

Follow Teenuja | Veganlovlie's board Kid-Friendly Vegan Recipes on Pinterest.

Thank you once again to all guests who participated in this event. And here's the round-up again:

Easy Broccoli Pasta
by Sarah Creighton

Spring Pea Miso Soup
by Cristina Cavanaugh

Carrot Hot Dogs
by Helyn

Mega Chocolate Muffins
by Julie

Finally, I wanted to feature this Baked Vegetable Fritters recipe as my contribution and finale for this event. But it has been one crazy month at work for me! I am really out of steam and looking forward to a vacation which is actually not going to happen for another 4 weeks. So, bear with me while I get a chance to write down the recipe.
Coming up soon:
Baked Vegetable Fritters with an exquisite spicy sauce recipe!

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