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On the hunt..

Ok, I’m sure I don’t need to keep repeating the fact that i’m on the hunt for more vegan friendly lunch ideas…but while i’m looking…(well..procrastinating about writing a meal plan really as we all know how good I am at that – the number of times i’ve actually started one, but never finished, is unreal. Really. I don’t know what it is about them that just turns me off. But, needs must. It must be done..)…I came accross this book online, called Speed Vegan. It actually looks intriguing.

But Amazon isn’t friendly enough to let me look inside this one..and I hate not being able to look inside a recipe book before I buy it..because I mean, what if it has no pictures?! Then it would just be boring…

So me, being me of course, went on the google hunt, yet another distraction from writing my meal plans.

I found http://www.alanroettinger.com where Alan Roettinger, the author and chef, gives some examples of recipes which are included in the book.

The first of which i’m going to try as soon as the weather turns cold enough is his Leek & Cauliflower soup..

Leek and Cauliflower Soup

Makes about 6 servings

Cauliflower and curry flavors go well together, which in this case is hinted at by the addition of ras el hanout, a Moroccan spice mixture slightly reminiscent of Indian curry but uniquely North African in character. Feel free to substitute an Indian curry powder for the ras el hanout in this recipe—it will be delicious either way.

1 head cauliflower
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 leeks (white and green parts), finely diced 
1 potato, peeled and finely diced
7 cloves peeled garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon ras el hanout or Indian curry powder                                                                                                          
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 quart water
3 vegetables bouillon cubes
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1⁄4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Break the cauliflower into small florets, reserving the very smallest ones separately from the rest (about 1 cup).
Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add the leeks, potato, and cauliflower (except for the reserved cup of very small florets). Cook and stir for 1 or 2 minutes, until the vegetables begin to release their juices. Add the garlic, ras el hanout, and salt. Decrease the heat and cook and stir until the mixture is almost dry, about 3 minutes. Add the water and bouillon cubes. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
While the soup is cooking, bring a small pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the peas and the reserved cup of cauliflower florets. Decrease the heat slightly and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and reserve.
When the leeks, potato, and cauliflower are tender, remove from the heat. Working in small batches, process the vegetables and their cooking liquid in a blender. Return the blended mixture to the pot. Stir in the reserved cauliflower and peas.
Warm the soup over medium-low heat. Taste and add more salt, if needed. Stir in the cilantro. Serve at once.

Sounds perfect for snuggling up with on the sofa in the winter…

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Posted by on October 5, 2011 in Recipes, Vegan

 

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Comfort Food…Kind Of..

While on the hunt for vegan lunch ideas that are quick and easy to take to work, I thought I would share with you today’s lunch – leftovers. Exciting huh? Well take a look:

Ok so it looks about as exciting as it sounds, but it sure tastes good – pan fried tofu with soy sauce and ginger, stir fried broccoli, and some good old fashioned steamed rice. Comfort food. Kind of…

 

 

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2011 in Lunch, Vegan

 

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Step 1: Meal Planning (Day 1)

So, I mentioned previously that I felt the need for structure. And I googled and googled vegan meal planning, but there wasn’t anything that I liked, or that would fit my lifestyle, or so I felt. So I guess I have to devise my own (I was counting on that quick fix google never fails to provide me with, but alas, I have to put the effort in). I started thinking about what I like to eat, and what I wanted to include, and most of all, what the reason for the seesawing was.

To be honest, I love food. I love meat too. So when temptation drew me in, I caved. But this time, no. This time, I’m remembering how great I felt, how much energy I had, and most importantly, how much I loved cooking! (If my mother reads this she’s going to think I’m nuts because my motto has ALWAYS been “I only cook because I have to eat”, let’s hope she doesn’t see this then!)

Where do I begin with this planning then? At the beginning I guess – first meal of the day – breakfast. Well for a start I’m not a breakfast person so I guess I’ll just have to stick some fresh fruit in there…so that brings me to lunch. During the week I need something that can be prepared the night before, and stuck in a box in the fridge ready to be dragged to work and microwaved or eaten cold at lunch time. I’m a huge fan of cous cous so a simple cous cous salad would work for me here. Then there’s dinner. Something quick, easy and doesnt require a lot of faffing or time between starting to make it and it being set on a plate in front of me. That’s why I like the sound of this tomato and onion tart – looks easy enough, not requiring huge amounts of ingredients and hopefully will taste great!

That’s one day out of the way, I’m off to pull out all my recipe books and fill up the rest of the week! I’ll be back shortly with my findings…

Rxx

 
 

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For the love of…Dinner Parties (Part 2)

So yes, I’m still in a funk. And this weather doesn’t really help. And when you tell someone you’re in a funk in the vague hope they cheer you up, it backfires. So I really have to bring myself out of this funk. But I don’t know how.

So I started thinking about mum’s potential dinner party again. And I started thinking about chocolate again. (My best friend has realised I have a chocolate craving every 15.5 seconds which combined with the funk lead to a considerable consumption of chocolate during my working day in less than 10 seconds…but we won’t mention that). Moving on…

Where was I? Oh yes, mum’s dinner party and chocolate, which then got me thinking about these amazing chocolate pots my sister had brought back from waitrose one evening and it was the tiniest little chocolate pot but the most heavenly and the most satisfying and one little pot was all I needed to completely satisfy that craving. So, if my sister could buy it from a supermarket, then why couldn’t I make the equivalent at home for a dinner party? It would be IDEAL…make in advance, set in the fridge until ready to serve, no hassle no fuss right? But I don’t have a recipe. It surely can’t be as simple as melting chocolate with a little cream and/or  butter and pouring it into a pot?

You’re right, it’s not. But here is a pretty simple recipe:

Ingredients

1  14 oz can of full fat coconut milk

200g soy chocolate (your fav kind, could even be some kind of raspberry chocolate..seriously..ANY chocolate you like..)

1 tsp Vanilla Essence

pinch of cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg

– Break the chocolate up into pieces, put it into a food processor with the vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon

– Bring the coconut milk up to a simmer on the stove, and then pour it over the ingredients in the food processor

– Blend everything together until smooth and creamy, pour into espresso or sake cups or even shot glasses and chill (takes about 5 hours for them to be firm and creamy) before serving.

See..then I started thinking some more (don’t you just love how I involve you in my thought processes these days?) and I thought how about some kind of ginger-chocolate pot dessert thing? So what would happen if I grated some fresh ginger into that? I’m not entirely sure, I’ll have to try it out and let you know…

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2010 in Chocolate, Dessert, Dinner Party, Indulge, Recipes, Vegan

 

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For the love of…Dinner Parties

I’m still searching for inspiration and creativity. I’m in a funk. A food funk. An emotional funk. I don’t crave food anymore. What is wrong with me? I’m definately in a funk. My cousin asked me today “are you excited? About life in general?” No, right now I’m not.

I need to find something to excite me. Food used to excite me. I need to find that again, I was happy, I was motivated. Where did it all go? Now I just feel like i’m an angry mess.

My mum keeps insinuating that she wants to have some sort of dinner party in the not so distant future. I’m taking that as the foundation of my inspiration. The opportunity to create. Mum’s dinner parties are usually buffet style meals with copious amounts of appitisers, main courses and several desserts. All of which scream comfort food. All of which are PERFECT for those family gatherings which start in the late afternoon and end during the early hours of the morning. But recently she’s been saying that she wants to do something different. So I’m thinking. What could be different? Something that doesn’t quite scream comfort food? Something a little more sophisticated? Yet something that is absolutely BURSTING with flavour.

So as I’ve been hunting for creativity I was thinking about appetisers. Something simple, sophisticated and bursting with flavour and I thought about cherry tomatoes. Not just ordinary cherry tomatoes on a plate, but stuffed cherry tomatoes, with pesto. Ok ok so traditionally pesto has parmesan in it, but you can use your favourite vegan substitute, i’m sure you all have one by now, if not – just ask and i’m happy to make suggestions!

Since you all know me, it wouldn’t be my recipe if I didn’t add some sort of twist to it so here goes & let me know what you think:

To make the pesto:

  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated soy cheese 
  • 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste

 Place all the above incredients in a food processor and blitz until its a spreadable consistency.

Cut the tops off your cherry tomatoes and de-seed them (i use a tea spoon, but I guess it depends on the size of your tomatoes).

Fill the tomatoes with the pesto mix (either using a tea spoon, or piping bag, or a sandwich bag with a tiny hole cut out of the bottom corner – all of these work perfectly well). Sprinkle a touch of paprika on top or garnish with half a toasted walnut or a basil leaf or even the top of the tomato – it’s entirely up to you! Get creative! Actually, now that I think about it, perhaps I should stuff the tomatoes with some kind of avocado, pine-nut, herb mix? I’ll have to think about that some more…

 

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Blissfully Vegan

Ok, ok, I know I have been terribly slack at posting anything, and that’s honest to goodness because I failed. I’ve been lacking motivation and inspiration and creativity. My world, well, in fact it felt like it got dull. I was fed up with not finding anything in Hong Kong and having to search high and low for the ingredients that I want, eventually finding them and having to fork out an arm and a leg for it all. How come no one ever tells you how expensive becoming a Vegan (especially in Hong Kong) actually gets?

So with my down in the dumps attitude, my best friend sent over Veganomicon, which i was excited about but couldn’t bring myself to cook anything from. Then, another friend introduced me to the Blissfully Vegan blog, a fellow vegan blogger in Hong Kong. What?! I thought I was the only one? Turns out it was exactly what I needed to get some creative juices flowing..but now I just need to gather up some energy and COOK.

Though you guys should check her out: Blissfully Vegan!

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2010 in Cookbook, Exercise, Food, Indulge, Recipes, Vegan

 

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For the love of…Cookies

My sister is fantastic. Seriously. My mother thinks my sister and I have switched places because I’ve been doing copious amounts of baking recently, because my sister is the baker in our family. She is honestly amazing, she sent me a few vegan cookbooks amongst which was Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, and my mouth simply started watering.

This book features a selection of mouth watering recipes for all kinds of cookies you never imagined would be vegan, including vegan style oreo cookies! Now that really excited me, especially with my new found oreo cookie cupcake fetish!

So over the weekend I decided to refrain from baking cupcakes in order to try out a vegan version of traditional chocolate chip cookies and I was happily surprised!

These were whole wheat chocolate chip cookies that were perfectly chewy in the middle, and crunchy on the outside. The kinds you dream about dunking in a glass of milk (soy of course) and enjoying as a midnight snack!

Once again as proof I did actually bake, my handy dandy blackberry provides you with an image:

I do promise I will be investing in a camera soon – I just havent found one I liked yet! For now the handy blackberry will have to do!

The Verdict: I would recommend you buy this book in a heartbeat! I’m excited to try out more cookie recipes along side my cupcakes!

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2010 in Baking, Chocolate, Cookies, Dessert, Food, Recipes, Vegan, Weight Loss

 

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