Saturday, 26 June 2010

10 deep breaths

"Some things are just never meant to be no matter how much we wish they were."
Gilmore Girls

No book quote today. Actually, not much of anything really. Instead you get a pearl of wisdom from Gilmore Girls. Oh, and some vegan chocolate sorbet from
Giapo in town. It took 3 of us to demolish was that rich.

That's all.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Riding on the choo choo train

He was a tiny little man with an immense low-slung protuberant belly of the kind that women have when they are eight and a half months pregnant, and he carried this great ball in front of him very proudly, as if it were a special medal or a coat of arms.
Going Solo by Roald Dahl

My Aunty turned 60 recently so that called for a bit of a celebration. As usual, I was left in charge of making the cake. For my Dad's 60th I made him a rocket ship cake. For my Mum's 60th I made a gingerbread house (with a chocolate roof) complete with a garden. Yes, the old
Australian Women's Weekly Children's Birthday Cake book gets a lot of use around here. My Aunty was flipping through it and got her heart set on the train cake so that became my mission...

But first I had to veganise her favourite lentil roast (she was making a normal roast and wanted her usual lentil roast to go with it). Personally, I thought it was kind of boring and I'd make a whole heap of adjustments before making again but I've posted the recipe at the bottom of this post in case anyone's interested.

I ended up running out of time to make the gravy 'cause decorating the cake was taking much longer than I'd anticipated (although I did sleep in which didn't help) so I had to make an emergency call to Mum to help out (a tahini gravy from this old wholefoods cookbook that we both have). Lucky we have some of the same cookbooks so I could just tell her the name of the book and the page number. Yay!

So here's my dinner plate - lentil roast with tahini gravy, salad, stir-fry veggies and roast potato, kumara and pumpkin (I didn't end up eating the potato in the end though...I just can't love potatoes, at least not like how I love kumara).

I then proceeded to get a bit tipsy on wine (I was given this bottle as payment for raking mountain bike tracks at my mate's farm). I'll be honest and admit it only takes 1 glass and I'm a bit lost.

My cousin D was in charge of the evening and her belief is that dessert is the main meal of any celebration so there was lots of it. My dessert bowl consisted of apple crumble and trifle (after a bit of instruction, Mum was able to whip up my famous trifle...feels a bit weird knowing she made it and not me but it was still awesome).

I'd lent Mum my copy of
The Damn Tasty Vegan Baking Guide but luckily there are my favourite cake recipes in Kris' other book, The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes. I made 2 different kinds - carrot cake and chocolate cake (using the Black Forest cake recipe) with the front being all chocolate and the 2 carriages being mostly carrot cake with a thin layer of chocolate along the tops (to make the carriages higher). Luckily it all worked out because I started baking without any idea on how I was going to put it together...note for next time: plan otherwise you'll email your cousin and call your Dad several times out of panic.

Here's my slice of cake. People were very reluctant to destroy the cake which was both flattering and annoying. Come on people, it's made for eating...

And then to top off the evening I decided to play their piano...bad idea for a girl who recently cracked a bone in one of her fingers. I am a hopeless case!

Anyway, here's the recipe for the lentil roast if anyone is interested. I have no idea where the original recipe came from...

Lentil Roast

1 cup red lentils
2 cups water
1 onion, finely chopped
25g vegan margarine
1 tsp mixed herbs
grated vegan cheese (as much or as little as you want (or can afford because let's be honest, vegan cheese is expensive!)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 flax egg (I used 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed whipped with 3 Tbsp water)
4 weetbix, crushed
wholemeal flour to coat
little oil for cooking

Put the lentils and water in a saucepan and simmer gently, uncovered, until the lentils are tender and all the liquid is absorbed (which is apparently about 20 minutes but I can't remember how long it took me).

Set the oven to 190C.

Fry the onion in margarine (or oil if you want but I felt in the mood for margarine) for 10 minutes until soft and lightly browned then add this to the lentils together with the mixed herbs, cheese, lemon juice, flax egg, salf, pepper and paprika.

Add a few crumbled weetbix (I used 4 from memory) to stiffen the mixture.

Oil the loaf tin and coat it lightly with flour and then spoon the mixture into the tin. Lightly brush the top of the loaf with a bit of oil and bake 45 minutess until brown and crisp, basting the top with oil from time to time.

Tip out of the tin and slice, served with tahini gravy or similar.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Someone cares

Generation succeeds generation, but there is a fool walking the earth who is never ravaged by time.
The Solitaire Mystery by Jostein Gaarder

Random note before I this site is displaying at the moment there are 3 pieces of vegan chocolate cake within about 5 posts...does that say something disturbing about my diet?!

Anyway, on with it...

There is just something so cool about food that someone else cooks for you. I'm not talking about restaurant food or cafe food although that can be nice and all. I'm talking about food that someone you care about makes for you...

Dinner was at The Chef's house the other night. I had devoured a rather intense hot chocolate that morning (hot soy milk and 2 big slabs of dark chocolate courtesy of the cafe across the road from work who made it specially for me since they weren't sure whether I could have their normal hot chocolate or not) so I was feeling the need for veggies and hoping he would provide.

This was cooking on the stove when I walked in...stirfry veggies with tofu and satay sauce (he even roasted and crushed the peanuts...ah). Pretty much my perfect meal. I suspect I am quite easy to please though.

After dinner we went to a talk by
Don Tolman. Neither of us had heard of the guy until a couple of days before when he was on bfm (I was on my way to the supermarket from work when I heard him talk) but we were both intrigued. It was interesting but sometimes he talked in these over-the-top funny voices which annoyed us. Anyway, when we got back The Chef heated me up one of his awesome apple pies...I am seriously addicted. There could be worse things to be addicted to...

This is a pie from the second batch which wasn't quite as good 'cause he was trying something different with the pastry but by 'not quite as good' I mean still seriously amazing. I was told there is only one pie left now. This is a sad thing (especially if that pie doesn't make it into my tummy).

In the morning The Chef made us porridge with wholegrain oats, banana, maple syrup and walnuts (brain food according to Don Tolman and my brain does need some extra help).

It's been a while since I've had porridge but it was definitely the perfect weather for it (raining, cold, just generally miserable winter weather). I polished mine off with some awesome ginger tea I found on his shelf.

He then had to rush off to work and I had to rush off home to start the baking extravaganza which is making a train cake (more on that next time) but he sent me off with some homemade 6-grain buns for lunch.

Ah, everyone should have their own personal chef to take care of them!

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Sleepy slabs of tofu

"We have a long way to go, and there is time ahead for thought. It is something to have started."
- Treebeard from
The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien

I am too tired to think straight right now so I will leave you with a photo from an awesome brunch I had a couple of weeks ago with The Chef at
Roasted Addiqtion.

The Vegan Tofu Florentine which is huge slabs of fried tofu served on spelt toast with avocado, spinach, capsicum and some delicious chutney/sauce type thing. I think it could have done with some fried or baked tomatoes or something like that but otherwise it was very tasty and incredibly filling. Come visit me and eat it.

Right, back to work. I have a train cake to make tomorrow...

Thursday, 3 June 2010

It is possible to eat your weight in food...

'I should put a bolt through you just to be safe.'
Shadow of a Dark Queen by Raymond E. Feist

In preparation for my food being reduced to this for most of a weekend (yeah, terribly appealing)...

...on Friday I had a day of extreme eating out with my mate B in Christchurch. After all, I needed the fueling for my epic race the next day (which turned out to be a bit more epic than I imagined!).

Last time I visited we attempted to go to
The Orange Tree but it was closed. This time luck was on our side...yay! The Orange Tree seems to specialise in all kinds of special diets but the main attraction was that it could make vegan pancakes. They were served with caramalised bananas, fresh fruit, jam and maple syrup. Oh man, they were seriously awesome. I have to come back here again!

I also had a ginger chai latte with rice milk on the suggestion of the waitress and it was delicious. The ginger gave it a real, um, zing (?). Yum.

We went climbing after breakfast so got lunch to Soul Food where I just had to get the vegan BLT again (which was served with 3 different salady things). If you come to Christchurch...go here and get this. It's good.

I also got a ginger slice to take away for afternoon tea. Perfectly decadent and unnecessary but it had to be done.

Then came the main event...dinner. We decided (okay, I decided and B agreed) that we had to go to
The Lotus Heart. I think this has to be my favourite vegetarian food place. I can never visit Christchurch without eating here at least once. I started with their wonderful house-made ginger beer.

B was getting some fancy entree but I was feeling like fries. Don't know why. So I ordered their fries with house-made tomato sauce and vegan cashew aioli...their aioli is so incredible. B was impressed with my powers to almost demolish the entire pots of both sauces!

I really wanted to order the Sun Burger again for my main but I resisted and ordered something different instead...the Masala Dosa which is a South Indian lentil and rice pancake filled with potato masala filling and is served with rasam (which is apparently like a sort of soup) and coconut chutney. It was HUGE and defeated me (well, I'm sure I could have tried harder to finish it if I wasn't planning on dessert). But boy was it delicious. Definitely one to order again!!

I couldn't decide on dessert so I listened to my stomach which was calling out for chocolate so I wasn't very original and ordered the vegan chocolate cake with some kind of berry sorbet. It was delicious.

Yep, that's a lot of food (and very few veggies in sight) but boy was it worth it!

So what was I doing this past weekend? TWALK - a crazy twenty-four hour orienteering event held every year in Canterbury somewhere...and you get to dress up!

Yep, there was snow (think patches of nearly waist-deep snow at 2am on the top of a was cold!)...and it was awesome fun (okay, there were some patches where I hated it but that's the same with any race). Can't wait until next year...

Anyway, I won't bore you now (or have you think I'm too crazy) but when I get a chance (and have caught up on some much needed sleep) I'll post a race report over