TTK is back!

10 Jan

Albeit in a slightly modified form.  It’s over here: TTK v. 2.0.

You can read about the difference between this and the new TTK over here: About TTK v. 2.0.



With heavy heart…

20 Jun

I have been thinking about this for a while and, with heavy heart, I am putting TTK on hiatus for a while.

Currently my life is overflowing with wonderful things: my marriage, impending motherhood, my PhD, friends and – of course – cooking.  But, right now I’m quite content to spend my spare time enjoying what I have here.

That is not to say that TTK will be gone forever.  But for now; goodbye.

S and I will still continue to update W148BD, so please feel free to follow our journey in London over there.

Savoury Crumble, for a little something extra

18 Jun

Here’s something that you’ve seen before, but with something new:

What’s in the bowl is lentil and mash – in the past, I’ve posted variations on this lentil-plus-mash concept a number of times.  It’s something so easy and quick that is also healthy and delicious.  But this one has something new!  That’s right – the savoury crumble.

The general premise is the same as the crumble that goes on the top of stewed apples to make apple crumble – only savoury.  You want to start with some flour in a bowl, with a pinch of salt, and then all you really need to do is rub some dairy-free butter into it.  I generally also add a little water at the end just so the whole thing isn’t butter!  Rub the mix between your fingers until it looks like this:

and then spread it out on an oiled baking tray and pop it in the oven until it’s golden and crispy.  Done.


It’s the little things…

1 Jun

…that count.

Not feeling completely exhausted.  MasterChef Australia.  Having a peeler that I don’t have to battle with.  The power of steam.

Things that make me excited about getting into the kitchen and making things.  Making delicious things (and sometimes, making not so delicious things…)

All I need now is a food processor.  How did I ever live without one of these amazing things?  Plus, there is no way that I’m going to create any kind of culinary masterpiece of baby food without one.  Not that I will be making baby food for a while, but…  when the time comes, I’d like to have the processor set up and ready to wizz.  (Also, it’s so much easier for pastry when one is lazy with kneading like me.)

I’ve also been watching MasterChef Australia season three.  Apart from the fact that there is a small, devilish part of me that would like to eat George Calombaris.  I’m not sure he’d be able to successfully veganise anything of his, but boy do I love veganising his food.  And, although MCA is very, very meaty (particularly this season) there is something about it that inspires me.

And on that note, I’m not quite ready with the red wine braised tofu.  I think it needs another run (although it did pass the S taste test…) I will, however, leave you with some pictures of the dish mark 1 (and yes, you can see the wanky influence that watching a show like MasterChef has on my at-home plating):

Lentil stew with mash

31 May

I have posted recipes quite similar to this before – mainly in ‘pie’ style.  This one is a big thicker, and still has the typical shepherd’s/gardener’s pie mash and pie crust.  Think of it as a kind of an unbaked gardener’s pie in a bowl.

What you’ll need:

  • 1-1 1/2 cups brown lentils
  • 1 stock cube
  • 1 big carrot, diced up how you like
  • 1 regular size onion
  • 2/3 cup peas
  • some form of vegetable gravy – either home made or gravy powder
  • some puff pastry (you could alternatively use filo or a regular shortcrust)
  • potatoes, about 4 medium sized

What to do:

In a pretty large pot, cover your lentils in water plus two or three ‘finger-widths’ extra.  Less is more here, as you can always add in more water if they’re getting a bit dry.  Put on the boil, and once you’ve had a rolling boil for a few minutes, crumble the stock cube over the top (alternatively, if you make your own stock you can just cook the lentils from the word go in half-and-half water and stock). While the lentils are coming up to the boil, get your potatoes in the steamer (or in a pot to boil).

While you’re waiting for the lentils to cook, time to do the pastry biscuit.  The easiest way (particularly with filo or puff) is to use frozen pastry.  If you wanted to make your own, my recipe is over here.  I like to cut out shapes, but you can easily just use a hand cut circle.  Pop them onto a well-oiled baking tray and throw them in the oven.  If you want to get your pastry into a nice little ‘hat’ shape, pop them into a shallow pie dish:

Remember to keep an eye on your pastry, and pull it out of the oven when it’s golden on top.

Once the lentils are starting to look as though they aren’t too far away from being done, throw in the carrots (and, if you’re so inclined maybe some parsnip and swede, diced to roughly the same size).  A few minutes later, stir though the peas and the gravy – either a few heaped tablespoons of pre-made gravy, or a tea spoon or so of gravy mix.  Let that cook down.

Now, your potatoes should be pretty much done so get them organised with mashing.  The thing I find about steaming your potatoes is that you don’t really need to add too much else to them to create a nice, creamy mash.  I usually just put a little bit of pepper in and that’s it.

So – everything is done.  Time to put it all together.  Fill the bottom of your bowl with the lentil mix, make a nice round ball of potato to plonk in the middle, and top with your pastry hat.  Viola!

And what to do with the left over lentil and mash?

Yep, not a very pretty photo but a damn fine sandwich.  And, some gratuitous shots of the new kitchen:

Also – let me tell you that as I write this, I’ve got some red wine braised tofu on the stove.  I’m going to serve it with some parsnip mash and carrots.  Fingers crossed, but so far it looks, tastes and smells pretty good.

Super-Creamy, Super-Cheesy Vegan Pasta Bake

28 May

This is the single creamiest, cheesiest thing I have eaten in all my years of being vegan.  Also, it makes me realise how lucky I am to have fairly easy access to the ingredients to make something like this happen – I know it won’t be as easy for some, but let me tell you this fifteen-minute pasta bake is well worth going out of your way for.

What you’ll need:

  • Pasta, some kind of short twirly or shell pasta, whatever you like.  Two cooked and drained serves (or more if you like)
  • 1 tin of crushed tomatoes.  Whatever brand and style you like – if you buy them with herbs and onion, just omit any more herbs and onion (or don’t, it’s up to you!)
  • 1 regular sized onion, chopped and lightly browned
  • 1 grated wheel of either Cheezly super-melting edam or Cheezly super-melting mozzarella.  I confess, I used half a wheel of each mixed together but I remember how expensive Cheezly was in Australia, so I wouldn’t have done it there!
  • 1 regular-size carton of Oatly oat cream.  You could use Soyatoo, but it wouldn’t be the same.

What to do:

  • Put the cooked and drained pasta in the bottom of your baking dish.  In a mixing bowl, combine all other ingredients and pour over the top.  Mix lightly, so all the pasta is covered.  Pop in the oven for 15 minutes.  Eat.
  • Celebrate the cheesiest, creamiest, easiest vegan dinner you have ever made.




Veggie Burgers

23 Apr

I have a kitchen again!  A proper kitchen, with bench space and cupboard space.  A kitchen that is its own room and not a nook in the wall of another room.  A proper kitchen that can now be filled with deliciousness.  A kitchen which already has a ‘baking cupboard’ with four different types of flour in it.  Hooray!

And so, in honour of the new kitchen, here is the first real creation that’s come from it (yes, I know we’ve been here for ten days now – but what with the moving and organising and everything I haven’t really had the time to devote to culinary creation.)  So, here it is: veggie burgers.

What you’ll need:

  • 3 regular sized mashing potatoes
  • 1 regular sized sweet potato
  • 1 leek
  • 1 onion
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 small-medium parsnip
  • 1/2 swede
  • 3/4 cup peas
  • 5-6 button mushrooms
  • olive oil
  • breadcrumbs
  • cooking oil
  • salt and pepper

What to do:

Peel all your veges, then roughly cut up and boil the potato and sweet potato, and put on to boil.  When they’re done, mash and set aside.

While they’re boiling, finely dice up your leek and onion and throw them into a frying pan with some oil.

Keep an eye on them – you want them really nicely browned.  While that’s going on dice up your other veggies (I actually did double, and set the other half aside for tomorrow night’s veggie soup!) and throw them in a pot to boil, with the peas.  Obviously, you want them cooked though – but not over cooked.

While that’s going on, your leek and onion mix should be done – tip it into the potato and sweet potato mash that you’ve set aside and keep your fry pan (no need to rinse) off the heat for a moment.  Peel and dice up your mushrooms, and throw them in the fry pan with a little bit more oil.  Peel you say?!?  If you don’t know how, there’s a handy tutorial at the end of the post.  Now, how much you cook these is really up to you.  I like them on the more well done side, but I know plenty of people who would quite happily throw them in the pan for 30 seconds and have them half-raw.  Go with what you feel.

Once the mushies and veggies are done, tip them into the mash and stir it all together, with some salt and pepper.  If you wanted to add some fresh herbs (rosemary would be my pick) do it here.  I haven’t because S likes simple food, and at the moment my taste buds are so whacked out with baby-related weirdness that I don’t want to risk adding things and then not being able to eat them.  There’s not need to be super precious about mixing – just get in there.

At this stage, you want to let the mix cool enough to handle, and then shape medium sized burger patties with your hands, and cover each one in breadcrumbs.  To be honest, I didn’t do it tonight.  For a number of reasons, which mainly had to do with not having any breadcrumbs on hand and still not having a food processor with with to make emergency breadcrumbs.  But – be assured that I’ve done it many times before and it will work out fine!  Finally, shallow fry each of the crumbed patties before draining them on some paper towel.  And then…


How to peel a mushroom:

A few years ago my wonderful mum taught me about peeling mushrooms.  Maybe everyone already knows how to do it and I was just a bit slow on the mushroom-peeling uptake.  But, just in case – this is how:

1. Break the stem off.

From here, you’ll be able to see that the outer skin of the mushroom forms a kind of lip over the bottom edge:

And you’ll find that you can just grap little bits of the skin that’s folded over and pull it off:

And that when you pull, a strip will come off from the lip to the middle of the top:

Move all the way around the lip, and hey presto – a perfectly peeled mushroom!