Tag Archives: veganised

Vegan Carbonara and the end of grieving

23 Jan

I have been grieving for my kitchen.  Not the physical kitchen – the bench, the sink, the oven.  But, the things that make my kitchen, well, my kitchen.  My amazing food processor (how did I ever live before this?!?), my wonderful Tupperware measuring cups and my Happy Chopper.  My bowls, my marble rolling pin, my baking trays.  I know that this isn’t an excuse for having – without any warning to you – let TTK fall by the wayside.  Well – no more!  I must get over it, I have sufficiently re-stocked my kitchen (albeit with less expensive things…)  And, so – to welcome back TTK I give to you my amazing no-soy, no-fake chesse Vegan Spaghetti Carbonara.

Okay – it doesn’t look super amazing, but it passed the S-taste test, and that is good enough for me.

While you’re spaghetti is cooking, throw one finely chopped onion and half a finely chopped leek into a frying pan with a little bit of vegetable oil (I personally use rapeseed oil) and start making a basic white sauce in a medium sized saucepan.  The amount of sauce you make will depend on how thick you like your cabonara, but my base was about 1 1/2 cups of rice milk and something around 1/4 cup of organic white flour sifted and whisked in, then stir though about 1/3 cup of oat cream until the sauce is a nice consistency – you’ll want it to be thick but still runny (if you cannot find oat cream, you can you Soyatoo or similar).  Add in a dollop of a mild yellow mustard (dijon or similar, or if you prefer something a bit different play around with seeded mustards) and some pepper to taste.  Take this off the heat and add in a handful of roughly chopped green beans, and your nicely-browned leek and onion mix.

Drain your spaghetti, stir the sauce though, serve with (as always) a lovely glass of red!

In other news, tonight S and I were feeling particularly lazy so we had microwave dinner (well, not really as we don’t have a microwave, but you get the idea…) consisting of Amy’s kitchen mac-and-cheese, which I bought from Wholefoods this afternoon.  Now, S had the ‘regular’ kind and I (obviously) had the vegan version.  The exciting thing about this is Amy’s kitchen vegan meals use a Daiya vegan cheese.  You can’t get it in Australia, and I haven’t found packs of it in the UK, though I’m not sure if it’s available or not.  It is apparently the most ‘realistic’ vegan cheese on the market, so I had been keen to try it.  It was nice – rich – but not like I remember cheese to taste.  I would certainly be happy to have it again, and maybe find some to try and cook with, but I’m not in the hugest rush.  I think I have said before that I am not the biggest fan of the fake-cheese products, but they are nice every so often.

One more thing, quite quickly.  Last week S and I went to see Jonathan Safran Foer do a q-and-a at LSE.  You probably know JSF as the author of (among other things) Eating Animals.  It was really wonderful.  It was great to hear how frank he was about his struggles with veganism, raising his children vegetarian, coming to terms with the research he did for the book.  Admittedly, this talk wasn’t aimed at me, and his book wasn’t aimed at me – I had already been vegan for quite a while when I picked it up – but it was great to hear such a truthful account of his struggles.  I think S took a bit more away from it than I did.

S feeding ducks in the Seine


Non-vegetable vegan Lasagne

8 Jul

I never remember loving lasagne, and I still have an idea that vegetable lasagne is the territory of the ‘Oh shit, I don’t know what to cook for my vegetarian guest’ cook.  Plus, a lot of lasagne is just plain bad.  So, quite frankly even I was shocked when I found myself pulling out lasagne ingredients from the pantry.  But this is not a vegetable lasagne.  This is a vegan version of a big, fat meaty, cheesy, greasy bad for you lasagne.

I kind of just threw it together, so there is no precise recipe (nor, I think, should there be for this type of comfort food dish).  The ‘meat’ layer is made with TVP, added to some fried off onions, leek and garlic, with some zucchini and parsnip, peas, two tins of crushed tomato, and some basil.  It’s fairly self explanatory, really – just throw it all together in a big pot.  I would have put carrots in there if I had them.  But, I didn’t.

The ‘cheese’ layer is a basic white sauce: I make mine by heating up rice milk and whisking in plain flour.  Then, I added a big spoonful of wholegrain mustard.  I like using wholegrain because it make the sauce look nice.  And, a huge bunch of nutritional yeast whisked in as well.  Oh, and probably some salt and pepper.

Layer the whole thing up, like a regular lasagne.  Easy!  Not particularly attractive, but damn tasty.

In other news:

I have decided that I don’t particularly like living in a non-vegan house.  Our old flat was pretty much wholly vegan.  S usually had a block of cheese, in a zip lock back in a special section of the fridge.  But today, I pulled a plate out of the fridge that I thought had some left over curry on it.  It was a steak.  A big, plate sized raw steak oozing blood.  Um, gross.

Not that I can complain too much because we are living here rent free and at a total inconvenience to my parents.  It’s just until we move though – the count down is on and I am about to be slugged big time for my settlement visa application…

Vegan Tofu Stroganoff

15 Jun

I am ashamed to admit that from the opening minutes of last night’s MasterChef I have been thinking – nay, obsessing – about the logistics of this dish.  How to make the beef and sour-cream laden dish vegan?  And, honestly, this dish would not be at all possible without the use of a sour-cream substitute.  You can either make one yourself, or you can use Tofutti’s Sour Supreme.  I really wasn’t sure how this would turn out, but it passed the S clean-plate test, so it must be okay.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 block of firm tofu
  • 1 medium sized brown onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • A big handful of mushrooms
  • plain flour
  • sweet paprika
  • a few spoonfuls of tomato paste
  • Sour Supreme or a home made sour-cream alternative
  • about 2 cups of very light vegetable stock
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fettuccine – home-made or store bought, if desired.

What you need to do:

Start by chopping up your tofu into blocks – as traditional stroganoff calls for ‘strips’ I cut my tofu into strip-like bits.  In a bowl, mix about three tablespoons of plain flour with about two teaspoons of sweet paprika and toss your tofu around in the mix to coat.  In a hot pan with a little bit of water, toss the tofu around a bit in order to ‘toast’ the sides of the tofu.  Set tofu aside.

After this, in the same pan, add the finely chopped onions and garlic to brown off a bit.  When they’re starting to look good, add the tofu in along with about 2 cups of light vegetable broth, and two dollops of tomato paste and, after giving it all a good stir around to incorporate, add in the flour and paprika mix from the tofu coating.  At this stage, put on your fettuccine, if you want it (depending on how long it will take; fresh will obviously be much, much quicker so should go on right at the end.)

This is the most important stage to taste your sauce.  Add more paprika if needed, or tomato paste, or broth (if you like thinner sauce) or flour (for thicker) and some salt and pepper.  Now add your cut up mushrooms – you can cut them in any way, really, but I like to slice.  Along with this, add in about two heaped spoonfuls of the Sour Supreme (or alternative) and carefully incorporate all that together.  Turn the heat down to a simmer, until the mushrooms are nice and soft.  Serve either alone, or, on top of the fettuccine.

Edited to add:  I have just seen that the addition of paprika to the MasterChef Stroganoff is causing a bit of an uprise amongst Russian cooks.  To be honest, the few beef recipes I looked at over the course of the day did include paprika, so that influenced my decision to use it.  However, it seems it may be not a true ingredient – in which case, use at your own peril.  Another small note, most recipes I looked at included either wine or sherry, neither of which I had on hand so neither was included.  A spoonful of sherry or splash of wine could be easily (and probably, tastily) included just before the simmering, or with the first lot of liquid.