6

Isa Does It, VCIYCJ and Vegan with a Vengeance recipes

I’ve made a few more recipes by Isa Chandra M. over the past month but have been a bit slack with posting, so here they are all in one go.

Peanut Butter Criss Crosses from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. I won’t ever eat peanut butter on bread or toast but in biscuits I love it:

pbcrisscrosses
The Curried Peanut Sauce Bowl from Isa Does It. Yummm:

peanutkaletofubowl

After trying the roast veg soba bowl at the Corner Hotel back in March, I had to make it at home.  This time I followed the Isa Does It instructions to the letter and I was rewarded with the same delicious meal.  I used both the lentils in the actual recipe but the next day I went for marinated tofu instead.  I’ve also made this with more veggies added in:

misotahinisobacauli

Isa’s Vegan With a Vengeance is a great book but admittedly, not one I have used all that much.  Not because there’s something wrong with it, more because I tend to stick with the latest cookbook purchases.  You know, shiny new toys and stuff.  Last week I decided to break out VWaV and I made the Ginger Macadamia Coconut Carrot Cake.  Deeeelicious!

gingermaccococarrotcake

Some weeks ago I made the Marbled Banana Bread from Isa Does It.  Clearly, my family need more practise with the marbling bit:

marbledcake

marbledcake2

 

As I’ve cleaned up my eating (again) I won’t be doing much baking and I will be adapting recipes I use to be lower in fat, or making substitutions outright.  I like that I can still use Isa’s recipes as a base and end up with something that is still super tasty!

 

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16

Vegan Black Metal Chef, Isa Chandra M, Terry Hope R and dinner at the Corner Hotel in Richmond!

Plenty of vegans around the country are super pleased right now because we have just been bombarded with vegan chef amazingness.  All in the form of Vegan Black Metal Chef, Terry Hope Romero and Isa Chandra Moskowitz.  In fact, some interstate vegans are super pleased enough that they traveled to Melbourne for tonight’s vegan cooking demonstration and Q&A, held at the Corner Hotel in Richmond.

cornerhotel1

cornerhotel2

I rocked up on my own and because I was way early, I decided to get a meal there at the Corner Hotel.  To be honest nothing on their online menu really appealed to me but I grabbed a menu from the bar anyway.  I’m so glad I did (I had been thinking of walking around a bit to find something), because there was this fantastic vegan menu for the night (I think it was just for tonight, that’s what I overheard someone saying).

Straight away, one meal jumped out at me: the roast vegetable soba bowl.  The description to me seemed like they were making Isa’s exact recipe from Isa Does It.  This really appealed to me because I have made it before but mixed up ingredients and it didn’t turn out like I’d hoped.  Purely my fault of course.  Anyway, I figured that if this indeed was Isa’s recipe, then I best try it because it was made by a real live proper chef person.  The other options were a black eyed pea burger with mango salsa and wedges; vegan Southern style fried chicken and a vegan shepherd’s pie.

You guys.  I am SO GLAD I chose this.  The dressing sauce was fantastic and I think… I think I now love the miso-tahini combination.  I neverrrr thought I’d be saying that, not this year at least. Previously, the miso-tahini combination kinda brought on the vommies a little. As soon as I go and buy some cauliflower, I’ll be making this following Isa Does It exactly:

cornerhotelsobabowl

 

After hanging out taking my time reading newspapers and stuff, I noticed people going up to Isa and Terry to sign their books.  Isa and Terry were a few tables away and I talked myself out of asking them to sign.  Because having social anxiety can really suck.  But I had taken along Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World and Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, hoping to get them signed for DeeW and Arthur respectively seeing as they looove those books.  When I finally did go up, Terry wasn’t there but Isa kindly signed the books for my vegan cupcake lovin’ cookie scoffin’ kids.  My claim to fame for the night is that I was the only person in the audience to have visited Omaha, where Isa now lives and will be opening her restaurant.

 

Once inside, the stage was set up for Black Metal Chef who was up first.  I feel like such a dork now, because I’m not sure if I correctly remember what everyone cooked!  Black Metal Chef made a spinach potato curry, followed by a dish with udon noodles, seitan, mushrooms and capsicum:

vbmc3

Yes, he really does cut with this:

vbmc4

Please forgive the crappy quality of my photos, by the way.

vbmc2

VBMC signed my guitar pick and took a photo with me.  The photo was for Arthur, he really likes watching VBMC’s videos.  Then Arthur walks around in a deep scary voice saying stuff like “Mummy… cook the tofu… be careful not to burn it…”:

vbmc1

Terry Hope Romero was up next, making a lovely sounding cashew dressing for her to-be-released-soon cookbook called Salad Samurai.  She also cooked up some tofu which smelled amazing.  I had a seat front and centre, best spot in the house:

terry1

terry2

terry3

Isa made her red pepper Mac and Cheese recipe, one I am determined to make very very soon.  She also made some breaded tofu which was torture, because by that time I was getting hungry again and the divine smells weren’t helping:

isa3

isa2

isa1

I had a great night, got that ooooh lovely bass-pumping-out-of-your-chest from the live music, and of course I got to meet Isa and Black Metal Chef (not Terry, waaaah).  I’d say I did pretty well!

 

vbmc5

Sliiiight skinnying of the arms…

4

Lemon Blueberry Cake from Isa Does It plus some Isa+Terry PB cookies

We had some company over last week so I decided to make a cake and some biscuits.  The Lemon Blueberry Cake from Isa Does It was the logical choice because the photo looks so scrumptious. Of course, once I started mixing things together I discovered I had no applesauce.  I’m guessing this is why the cake turned out a little too dry but taste wise it was great.  Lovely and lemony!  I didn’t bother with the lemon glaze drizzle because there was enough sugar as it was:

lemon blueberry cake1

Arthur has been nagging me forever to make the Peanut Butter Crisscrosses from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.  I was in a peanut butter kind of baking mood so I was happy to oblige.  These certainly satisfy a peanut butter cookie craving:

pb criss crosses

As a bit of an indulgence (I consider using white flour and sugars an indulgence!) these were great.  The problem with the biscuits was stopping at one… dozen.

cake and biscuits

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8

It’s Officially Autumn! Which Means Baked Treats and Decoratey Things

Yay! It’s the first day of autumn here.  My favourite time of year, where our grapevine starts sporting those beautiful autumn colours.  When our grapevine gets too long I just trim it all back but, genius of all genius, I’ve realised I can make wreaths from the vines.  I feel proud that in this area I am quite literally millennia behind the times.

I’ve always wanted to decorate my house with seasonal crafts, mostly nature crafts.  The problem is I lack the creativity gene.  My sewing is as basic as you can get.  I lack patience too when I’m learning a new skill because I want to know it all NOW.  I want the autumn colours NOW but everything is still green.  And it makes me hop around all annoyed like and thinking chlorophyll is totally overrated.

DeeW was feeling a little bummed out because Arthur was off at a birthday party, so we made some gingerbread in autumn shapes.  I used the gingerbread cut-outs recipe from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. I love my leaf cutter shapes but some of them are rather small and better suited to things like dough craft or cutting out pastry shapes for a pie:

making gingerbread

I have other larger cutters so now we have acorns, apples, teddy bears and a squirrel from an Ikea set.  No icing, there’s enough sugar as it is:

gingerbread autumn shapes

So many north American blogs I read feature autumn and woodland crafts.  People decorate their homes inside and out with autumnal displays and I sit there reading the blogs all happy like.  I love it and wish things were the same here.  Because autumn ROCKS and I love acorns, though I lack patience to do something lovely like this.  I don’t know about you guys but I just wanna wear this as a sash when I walk down to the shops:

Source: http://www.craftsunleashed.com/seasonal/acorn-fall-wreath/

Source: http://www.craftsunleashed.com/seasonal/acorn-fall-wreath/

The park near us has some oak trees so DeeW and I went and looked for acorns on the ground, along with other treasures.  Argh, flash!

autumn treasures

I googled for autumn nature crafts and was all stunned at the cute stuff one can make with leaves and acorns.  Remember folks, MILLENNIA behind the times here at ziggurat Veganopoulous.  Look at this sweet little fairy tea set!  I used air drying clay for the saucers, handles and spouts, then used a hot glue gun to stick all the bits together… badly, as the coffee pot will attest:

acorn fairy tea set

I have some more autumn crafts coming up (I hope).  Check back and see how someone totally useless at crafts and sewing fares. And I foresee some apple pies in my near future with pastry leaf cutouts!  And lots of crafty disasters.

gingerbread2

 

7

Watercress Coconut Lumpia Spring Rolls from ‘Vegan Eats World’

‘Vegan Eats World’ by Terry Hope Romero was a book I pre-ordered with much excitement.  Vegan food, world cuisine– I’m sold!  When the book finally arrived I waited until I had a completely uninterrupted few hours just so I could sit down on the couch and really take my time looking through it.

The way I usually look through a new cookbook is like this: I look at pictures first.  Then I flip through the pages from the start and get a rough idea of the recipes.  Then I go back to the very start and read everything properly, the dedications, thank yous etc.  I then get a stash of little strips of scrap paper to use as bookmarks so I can come back to those pages.

With ‘Vegan Eats World’, I had to run and get myself some more little scrap paper bookmarks.  One recipe I made sure to note were the lumpia, or spring rolls.  I’ve never really wanted to make stuff fried in oil so I was pleased to see the recipe gives an option for oven baking.

Terry’s lumpia are made up of dried coconut that gets toasted, carrot, potato, cabbage, watercress, onion and garlic.  That stuff gets cooked up then you fill spring roll wrappers and roll them up and fry or bake.  I went for the fry option this time, just as one of those “I never do this otherwise, so why not try it”.  And truthfully, I wasn’t sure if they’d turn out in the oven.

The filling has vinegar in it (the kinds of vinegar are listed in the recipe) but I left it out entirely.  I also left out the onion because of pure laziness.  I just couldn’t be bothered dicing an onion.  That’s me.  There’s a dipping sauce recipe listed but I just used sweet chilli sauce instead.

I was surprised that these turned out great.  Not that I doubted Terry at all.  It was more this pattern I have, where I put effort in to a recipe and then somehow it doesn’t end up the way I think it should be so I’m all mehhh won’t do that again.

loempia1

I ended up making another batch in the oven just to see how they turned out.  Baking does not give them the nice even browning and I found they went too crunchy.  Still, the kids ate them all up:

loempia2

Since the initial experiment I’ve made them a few times and added chopped kale to the mix. The only problem with them is you can easily eat the entire batch in one sitting…