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Wednesday, 19 November 2008

The mailman brought me...

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...this apron this morning! It was from Key Ingredient. Do you remember the KICK Contest I participated in? (Here's the post) Well, I was delighted to receive this fantastic apron through the post for coming up 2nd place!
Now, I don't know whether I should wear it or keep it. It's a really nice fabric apron!
Thank you Key Ingredient!

Monday, 17 November 2008

Sweet spices enchanted my day!

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I’ve been to an interview today and it was pretty good. I really hope to hear something from them. Otherwise I have another interview for tomorrow.

So, back from the interview today, I had to clear my head a little bit (so that I don't get excited too soon!) And there’s not better to do than baking. Right?!

I always look at those yummy hot cross buns in supermarkets and don’t buy them because they contain milk or eggs or non-vegan stuff. So, I decided to give them a try! I adapted and veganised the recipe from the BBC website. (They’ve got some quite nice recipes on there by the way).

The recipe looks quite lengthy but I did not think it took me that much time to do. During the waiting time, I just did other things then came back to it.

They’ve turned out really nice for a first try! And BoyfriendLovlie decided he would call them “hot cross bums” for some reason!

Anyway, with my interview that went on nicely and the warm yummy buns that baked really well perfuming my wintery kitchen with the smell of sweet spices, I've had a great day today!


Ingredients (12 buns)

For the ferment starter:
150 ml warm soymilk
150 ml warm water
15 g yeast (2 sachets)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons plain flour

For the dough:

4 cups (500 g) strong white flour (I just used plain flour though and they were fine)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground mixed spice/cinnamon
½ cup sugar
75 ml vegetable oil
1 lemon, grated, zest only
¾ cup mixed dried fruit (or more if you like)

oil, for greasing

For the crosses:

2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon oil
1 – 1½ tablespoon water (or as needed)

For glazing:

2 tablespoons soymilk
1 tablespoon sugar


  • Prepare the ferment starter for the dough by combining milk with the water in a deep bowl (as it will rise consequently, mine almost overflowed!). Whisk in the yeast, sugar and flour, cover and put in a warm place for 20 minutes.
  • To make the buns: sieve the flour, salt and spice into a large mixing bowl and pour in the oil. Rub in between the fingers until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  • Make a well in the centre and put the sugar and lemon zest in the well. Pour on the ferment starter.
    Gradually draw in the flour and mix vigorously.
  • Knead to a smooth, elastic dough.
    Add in mixed dried fruit.
  • Shape the dough into a ball, put it in a greased bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  • Turn out the dough. Punch down and knead to knock out any air.
  • Divide into 12 even pieces and shape into smooth balls.
  • Place on a greased baking tray/sheet (I used my pizza tray). Leave to rise for another 15 minutes or so.
  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  • Meanwhile you can do the crosses: mix the oil with the flour, then add water to form a smooth dough.
  • Roll out flat to 2 - 3 mm thickness. Then cut out thin strips.
  • Trim and place strips to form crosses on each buns.
  • Bake for 25 minutes.
  • Remove and brush with soymilk and sugar mixture, then put back for another 10 minutes or until golden and done.
  • Cool on a wire rack. Enjoy with butter, jam or they’re just good on their own!

Thursday, 13 November 2008

3am Curry Pies!

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BoyfriendLovlie's been saying that he's been missing the pies he used to have before as a pre-vegan for a while now. At the moment we are both looking for jobs and staying up late (very late even!) doing applications. I hope we find something soon, ideally before Christmas. To keep us going and satisfy our hunger pang, I baked these at 3am during the weekend and we both ate them afterwards! You can make them quicker if you already have some frozen pastry dough but I made the dough myself. If you have some left over curry, that'll do as well.

Ingredients (for 6 large pies):

For the dough:
2 ½ cups self-raising flour
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
10 - 11 tablespoons water (or as needed to form a soft non-sticky dough)

For the curry filling:
1 medium-sized carrot, finely chopped
1 can chickpeas
1 can peas
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder (or fresh minced ginger)
1 tablespoon mild curry powder (or hot, if you like it spicy!)
1/2 teaspoon garam masala (optional)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Salt to taste
Handful of coriander/spring onions (chopped), any herbs as desired (optional)
Soymilk for glazing
Water as needed to cook

To make the dough:
  • Mix the oil with the flour. Work with the fingers until flour ressembles fine breadcrumbs.
  • Add water and knead to form a nice and smooth dough. (The dough should not be sticky.)
  • Divide into 6 balls.

For the filling:

  • Heat the oil in a non-stick pan. Add onions, garlic, ginger, curry powder and garam masala.
  • Let roast for about 5 minutes, adding a little water to avoid burning.
  • Add chickpeas and carrots. Cover and let simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a little water if required.
  • Mash chickpeas lightly while cooking. (You can mash them more if you prefer. I like them well mashed within the pie).
  • Add the peas. Add enough water to have a thick consistency (neither watery nor dry).
  • Add herbs.
  • Add salt to taste.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool completely before filling in the pastries.
  • To make the pies, roll each ball flat (on a floured surface) to about 14 cm in diameter.
  • Place some curry on one side, leave enough space around the border.
  • Fold in half and close by pressing along the edge with a fork.
  • Glaze with some soy milk and bake for 30 minutes (or until golden) at 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Farenheit) on a baking tray. (Or you can also deep fry them. But do not glaze with soymilk if you are deep frying!)

The ones in the picture have been deep fried. But I baked some for lunch the following day and they were much nicer!

People who've tried this recipe:
Krys from Two Vegan Boys

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Cooked in Ireland!

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My first recipe from Ireland! I've never had cabbage with pasta before and it was BoyfriendLovlie who actually suggested this combination. I used red cabbage but I think white will also be fine. This meal was actually quite good. Warm and hearty for the cold weather over here at the moment.

So, here we go.

Tofu and Cabbage in Tomato Sauce

Ingredients (2 servings)

½ small red cabbage (I know small is not really a good indication here, so just use how much you feel would be right in comparison with the rest of the ingredients)
250 g tofu
2-3 tablespoons soy sauce (for marinade)
1 jar (400 – 500 g) tomato based pasta sauce (of your choice, I used onion and garlic)
1 large fresh mushroom (or as many as you like!)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
Dried basic or thyme (optional)
Handful of fresh spinach leaves (optional)

  • Cut tofu into small cubes. Marinade in some soy sauce for about 5 minutes.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a deep fry pan or wok.
  • Add in tofu (drain excess soy sauce before) and fry until golden and slightly crispy.
  • Remove and set aside.
  • Pour off some of the oil and leave about 1 tablespoon in the pan.
  • Cut the cabbage into large squares (2 – 3 cm). Separate the layers.
  • Slice the fresh mushrooms.
  • Heat the remaining oil (on medium heat) in the pan/wok.
  • Add cabbage. Stir and sautee.
  • Allow to cook for 7 – 8 minutes until slightly tender. (Be careful not to allow it to become too soft at this stage).
  • Add in the mushrooms. Sautee for a few more minutes.
  • Add pre-fried tofu.
  • Pour the pasta sauce and allow to simmer for 8 – 10 minutes. Add water if required.
  • Add spinach leaves and simmer for another 1 – 2 minutes.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Sprinkle your favourite dried herbs. I used dried basil.
  • Serve with boiled pasta or spaghetti. (Boil pasta according to packet instructions).

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