Archive for the ‘VeganCooking’ Category

Curried Mock Duck

It’s been a while since we posted a recipe post and so I thought I’d kick start the posts with a simple yet delish dish. This recipe is so quick and easy you could do it with your eyes closed. I first discovered it on a new app I got for my phone called ‘Veg Web’ and it’s becoming a firm favourite in my repertoire. Try it out for yourself – you won’t be disappointed.

What you need:

1 1/2 Cups of basmati rice

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 cups of vegetable broth (or veggie stock!)

1/2 head of shredded cabbage

2 Onions, sliced

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

3 (10 ounce) cans of mock duck, sliced

1/2 can coconut milk

2 tablespoons of curry powder

1/4 soy sauce

How you do it:

1. In a saucepan heat 2 tablespoons of oil and add the basmati rice. Cook until light brown (be careful not to burn it- no one likes crusty rice!) Add the vegetable broth/ stock and cook until done. Approx. 15-20 minutes.

2. In a large pan, heat the remainder of the oil. Add the shredded cabbage and the onions and saute for around 3-5 minutes until slightly brown. Add the garlic and saute for approx. 1 minute.

3. Add the mock duck, curry powder, and coconut milk and cook on high until thickened.

4. Stir in the soy sauce and serve over rice.

And that’s it! I was surprised myself as to how simple yet tasty this was. I cooked up a batch and kept it covered in the fridge and took it to work for a few days for lunch.

A history of soy

The soy/soya bean is one of the most utilised and versatile foods available on the Earth. It’s arguably one of the most important foodstuffs in the vegan diet too, and few others can boast such a rich and interesting history. It has been hailed as a superfood, and also shunned as being toxic. Although I can’t think of any other food which has been made into a car…

The soya bean is most commonly associated with Eastern Asian food. Countries such as China, Japan, Korea, and Thailand are often viewed as the main consumers of soya beans, and indeed the earliest documented usage of soya beans is in Chinese food and medicine. It was also a key industrial tool, as fields were often cultivated using soya bean crops prior to planting other crops, due to the root structure of soya. Soya beans spread to other countries around Eastern Asia, and there is evidence of use of soy milk and tofu dating back to the first couple of centuries AD.

George Washington Carver

Soya beans first ventured into the US in 1765 with Samuel Bowen. Having visited China, Bowen began growing soya on US soil. Two thousand years after China, America’s George Washington Carver discovered the valuable protein and oil content of soya, and its benefits in crop production. William Morse then founded the American Soybean Association, an organisation that still exists today. He poured a lot of effort into studying soy, with the hope of America achieving the position of the dominant soy growing country of the world (which it has achieved, now growing over 80 million tonnes of the stuff per year).

However, it was Henry Ford who revolutionised the use of the soya bean. Spending $1,250,000 on research in the early 1930s, Ford recognised soy’s versatility. His research resulted in Ford cars using soya in its paint, plastics, and shock absorbers at one point, resulting in around 60 pounds of soy going into each car that Ford created by 1935. He even created the first (and quite possibly only) Soybean Car – made almost entirely out of plastics derived from soya. He also developed products such as soy milk, soy whipping cream, and soy ice cream (which leaves me wondering why, if this happened in the 1930s/40s, is it so hard to get hold of decent soy ice cream?)

The soybean car. And I thought tofu was pretty amazing.

Anyway, nowadays the soya bean is used in a huge variety of foods. It has had significant issues with GM production, although regulations are in the process of becoming. Fifteen years ago only 8% of all soybeans used had been genetically modified, whereas last year this number was around 93%. Many companies which produce soy for human consumption are now going out of their way to produce and/or use organic soya beans though, and avoiding the genetically modified strains (for example, the UK’s premier producer of soya products, Alpro).

Unfortunately, the main proportion of soya that is produced is used as animal feed for battery farmed animals. Whilst not necessarily natural to their diet, it contains large amounts of protein and is cheap to produce, hence it has become one of the primary foods for animals used for meat. A common anti-vegan argument is that soya bean growth is very destructive, so if everyone went vegan then it would get much worse. This is simply not true – as soya beans are primarily used as animal feed, and animals eat a lot more than humans do anyway, if everyone went vegan then there would be an absolutely huge decline in soya production. Indeed, the amount of soya grown for human consumption would increase, but the overall amount of soya being produced would decline.

Perhaps the most difficult area of the soya bean’s history is surrounding studies which emerged around a decade ago highlighting potential health problems that could occur with the intake of soya. Due to a high level of phytoestrogens, one study has suggested that soya can promote breast cancer. However, this study was done on animals and thus is not reliable, and further studies have actually suggested that soya can reduce risks of breast cancer. For men, there have been theories linking the consumption of soya to a reduction in the quality and quantity of semen. However, experiments have proven to reduce the risks of prostate cancer in men.

The negative health effects of soya are disputable to say the least, and it’s worth doing your own reading if you’re worried. There’s a lack of concrete evidence for the negative effects though, and much of it is based on hypothesising or subject to taking extreme doses. Arguably soya’s greatest evidence in its favour is that it has been used as a foodstuff for several thousand years by the Chinese, and the Eastern diet is often described as the healthiest in the world.

Anyways, I can’t quite see the history of a vegetable becoming a regular feature on Vegangstaz, but the soybean is pretty interesting, mainly due to its versatility and the controversy surrounding it. If you’re interested in reading a little more about this crazy bean, you can find loads of info here. Also, this originally started as a post on why the soybean is a vegan must-have, but I got a bit absorbed into the history of it all, so that post will come along soon enough.

Vegan Black Metal Chef

Today has been a good day. Primarily, this is because I just made some awesome vegan burritos. Also, tickets for wrosie and I came through to go and see Brian Cox do a talk on science next week. However, I’ve also discovered perhaps my favourite vegan cooking video of all time as well.

The Vegan Black Metal Chef is probably my new favourite thing in the world. Forget Charlie Sheen, forget Rebecca Black. This dude deserves to go viral, and he’s representing veganism whilst doing it so let’s make it happen!

In the video, the Vegan Black Metal Chef cooks a Vegangstaz favourite: Pad Thai. As you may know, wrosie posted an awesome vegan pad thai recipe about a month ago, and very little could beat her delicious and simple recipe, so check that out! However, VBMC gets pretty close to this, partly due to his hilarious vocals accompanying the recipe in the video.

Hearing the lyrics ‘then we must press the water out of the tofu, then cut the tofu in half’ growled in a black metal style whilst some tofu is sliced with a sword over some stereotypical black metal intrumentals is probably the most fun you’ll ever have watching a cooking video. Oh and the VBMC himself is of course donning corpse paint and armour. Probably my favourite bit is towards the end. Instead of cooking you have to summon the power of Satan. “You are missing one ingredient. That is of course the heat of Sataaaan! You must summon the dark ones into your dish by any means possible.” Amazing.

This video is causing quite a stir on the internet already, and it’s only been up for a couple of days. Let’s hope this actually does go viral. In fact, scratch that, I hope the Vegan Black Metal Chef gets his own show. Screw Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay etc. etc. This is the kind of cooking show I would actually watch!

Video:

Vegan Portobello Stroganoff

I’ve always wanted to try out a vegan stroganoff and so the other day I decided I would finally get round to doing it. I looked around at a couple of recipes but in the end I opted to try out Isa’s recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance seeing as I’ve always had so much success with her recipes in the past. I stupidly forgot to pick up some rice for this dish when I was out shopping for the ingredients, but I did have some potatoes so I decided to stray away from the norm and served this up with a nice jacket potato that had been slowly cooking in the oven. And I must say I was not disappointed with the results.

Her actual recipe calls for ‘seitan’, however, I haven’t been able to make any of this myself yet as I have yet to get a hold of some vital wheat gluten so instead I just used mushrooms for the first batch (the ones I have photographed) but for the second batch I added some fry’s beef style pieces which took this dish to a whole new level of tastiness and according to my dad (who isn’t vegan or even vegetarian) it was just as good as the real deal. So if that isn’t reason enough to try this one out for yourself I don’t know what is!

.::What you need:

2 tablespoons of cornflour (or arrowroot powder)

475ml/ 16fl oz vegetable stock (or cold water)

2 teaspoons olive oil

6 shallots, thinly sliced

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

150g/ 5oz thinly sliced mushrooms

2 portobello caps, thinly sliced (if like mine yours came in a pack of 4 here’s an idea what to do with the left overs!)

2 tablespoons of fresh thyme, chopped

2 teaspoons of salt

250ml/ 8fl oz red wine (make sure it’s vegan! If in doubt and you come from the UK Marks and Spencers have a very nice selection of vegan wines!)

1 tablespoon paprika

8 tablespoons of nutritional yeast

120ml/4fl oz plain soy milk

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

115g/ 4oz frozen peas

4 potatoes for jackets! (This recipe serves four, however, it keeps pretty well in the fridge so I popped the leftovers in a container and just heated it up a couple of days later, adding the fry’s beef style pieces. I actually think the sauce tasted a little better than it did the first time round for reason! Worth keeping in mind!) If you are going to try out potatoes, if possible try cooking them slowly in the oven. This usually takes around an hour depending on how big your potatoes are, if you have the time it’s definitely worth it because they end up nice and crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. However, to save some time, cook the potatoes in the microwave for around 5-7minutes and then pop in the oven for 5-10 minutes prior to serving. Feel free however, to just use rice or even noodles as Isa does in the book!

step one: prepare the potatoes, as above, or prepare rice/ noodles according to packets instructions.

step two: Dissolve the cornflour (or arrowroot) in the stock (or water); set aside.

step three: Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and the onions, sauté for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and both types of mushrooms, and the thyme. Sauté for 15 minutes.

(step three and half: if you’re using seitan or beef style pieces, heat up a pan around now and cook in some frying oil)

step four: Add the salt, wine, and paprika. Turn up the heat to high to reduce the liquid, about 10 minutes.

step five: Lower the heat to medium-high, add the cornflour (or arrowroot) mixture, stir well, and let the sauce thicken for about 5 minutes. Add the nutritional yeast and mix well until it is dissolved. Add the soy milk and the mustard and bring the heat down to low; be careful not to let the it boil now because it can make it taste bitter. Add the peas, (and the seitan or beef pieces if using!) and cook for a further 10 minutes.

step six: Serve and enjoy!

Vegan Phad Thai

O.k. so this is not strictly speaking a ‘traditional phad thai’ recipe but nonetheless it’s still seriously tasty! It’s so good in fact my none vegan friends and relatives are forever asking me to cook it for them and I myself eat this pretty much all the time. Not only that but it’s so easy to make and doesn’t take long at all, nor does it require any particular skill in the kitchen. Another great thing about this recipe for me is that I can use whatever vegetables I happen to have in at that moment, and the ingredients for the sauce are stuff I always keep in my cupboard so this is literally my go too recipe when I just want something simple but tasty. I have adapted this recipe from a little vegan cook book called ‘Vegan with a Vengeance’ which, if you haven’t already, you MUST check out!

.::What you need:

450g/ 1lb rice noodles

4 tablespoons of groundnut oil (note: this recipe serves 4 so if your wok is quite small you may want to fry the ingredients in two smaller batches, in which case you will need 6 tablespoons. The frying part only takes 3-4 minutes so every one can still eat together!)

1 block of tofu, drained and pressed and cut into small triangles (or if you can get hold of them some pre-marinaded tofu pieces. I usually use Cauldron’s tofu pieces if I can’t be bothered to wait a half an hour whilst my tofu drains!)

1 medium sized red onion, chopped into strips

1 pepper, chopped into strips (the colour of it is up to you!)

1 courgette, cubed (or zucchini if you’re American!)

– Some asparagus tips, halved

– A handful of mushrooms, chopped

8 spring onions, sliced

1 pak choi

For the sauce:

6 tablespoons of tamari (or soy sauce if you don’t have tamari)

3 tablespoons of agave (or 6 tablespoons of sugar)

2 tablespoons of chilli sauce or hot sauce (I like my spice so I usually put in a little more, but go with your gut!)

2 tablespoons of sun dried tomato paste (or tomato purée)

3 tablespoons of lime juice (or lemon)

3 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar

Sprinkling of chilli flakes

step 1: Prepare the rice noodles according to the directions on the packet (unless you’re using the straight-to-wok option which is great for the washing the up!)

Step 2: Mix together the ingredients for the sauce

step 3: Preheat a large wok or frying pan over a medium to high heat. Pour two tablespoons of oil in the pan and heat. Add the tofu. Stir fry for about 4 to 5 minutes until crispy. Remove and place on a piece of kitchen towel.

step 4: (if you’re frying in batches remember to half these ingredients!)  Pour two tablespoons of oil into the pan. Add the onion and stir fry for around 30 seconds. Add the rest of the veggies and stir fry for another 30 seconds to a minute (depending on how crisp you like them!). Add the sauce. As soon as the sauce bubbles (which should be more or less straight away) add the noodles. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the tofu, spring onions and pak choi. Stir fry for another 30 seconds.

step 5: serve and enjoy!

The easy Vegan’s guide to the perfect Mac ‘n’ Cheese!

Being vegan is the best thing I ever decided to do. But sometimes I get this pesky little craving for good old fashioned mac and cheese and it just won’t go away. So I trawled the interweb and came across a couple of recipes, most using this thing called ‘nutritional yeast’. Now, I have heard of this curious little product before and have always wanted to try it but I couldn’t seem to find it anywhere. I had looked in my health food store but I had always come back empty handed, unable to successfully locate it. But I now find that this was down to my eyes, as they say, ‘being painted on’, as whilst browsing the array of vegan mayonnaise on offer I turned around and what did I stumble on? Yup, nutritional yeast. It had been there all along, hiding from me. I was literally so happy I pretty much ran home with my find and started on the task at hand: satisfying my ever growing cravings for mac and cheese! I must say I wasn’t disappointed with the results. This was literally the best mac and cheese I have had in my life. Ever. I couldn’t get enough of it and neither could dear old flouncel. We made tonnes of the stuff, hoping that it would last a couple of days, but it’s so tasty that you’ll be lucky if it lasts the evening let alone, being able to have any for lunch the next day! But it takes less than half an hour to make so it won’t take long to whip up some more!

Without further ado::.

Ingredients:

700g (1.5lbs) pasta, preferably macaroni but feel free to just get your favourite shape of pasta!

for the sauce:

350ml (1.5 cups) unsweetened nondairy milk

65g (1.5 cups) nutritional yeast

250ml (1 cup) vegetable oil (or canola/ rapeseed oil)

250ml (1 cup)water

80ml (1/3 cup) tamari or soy sauce

1 block of firm tofu (not silken!)

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon salt

1 dollop mustard (optional, but I highly recommend using it!)

The method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C or 350°F or gas mark 4. Boil some water in a pan and add the pasta. Cook according to packet’s instructions.

2. Add all the sauce ingredients together in a blender and blend until smooth.

3. Drain the pasta and put in a large baking tray. Pour the sauce over the top and whack it in the oven for around 15 minutes or until the top is a lovely golden brown and your kitchen smells deliciously cheesy (for the first time in years!)

4. Serve and enjoy!

**EXTRAS**

The great thing about this recipe is the potential to go crazy with it! It’s just so versatile. Remember recipes are only the beginning of exciting culinary adventures don’t follow them mercilessly like sheep. Be adventurous and have some fun with it!

-Why not try adding a few sprinkles of fake parmesan on top

-Add in some peas or green beans or indeed any other green veggies of your choice!

-If you’re worried about the amount of oil, try using a bit less and substitute a little vegan margarine

-I don’t always like adding salt to my recipes so if you’re the same there’s no harm in adding less or even omitting it completely

-Add some bread crumbs on the top. Makes for a crisper topping! 🙂

-You could also use this sauce on top of cauliflower to make a delicious cauliflower cheese side dish! Perfect for those Roast dinners!

All in all, this makes for a fabulously cheesey dish to help keep those cheese cravings in check and I’m sure you’ll love it just as much as we do!

Spaghetti tofu balls

This dish is great for everyone and the tofu balls are a fun addition to  plain old spaghetti. A great substitute if you’re bored of soy mince. Nicely served with a fruity red vegan wine!

.::What you will need:

-250g/90z firm tofu, drained (see:the taming of the tofu (not shrew))

-1 onion, coarsely chopped

-2 garlic cloves, crushed

-5ml/1 tsp wholegrain mustard

-15ml/1 tbsp ground cumin

-1 small bunch of parsley, finely chopped

-15ml/ 1tbsp tamari or soy sauce (which ever you prefer but if you go with the tamari use slightly less)

-50g/2oz/half cup ground almonds

-30ml/2 tbsp olive oil

350g/12oz spaghetti

sea salt and ground black pepper

basil for garnish

.::for the sauce

-15ml/1 tbsp olive oil

-1 large onion, finely chopped

-2 garlic cloves, chopped

-1 large aubergine (or eggplant if you’re in the USA!), diced

-2 courgettes (or zucchini), diced

-1 red (bell) pepper, seeded and finely chopped

-15ml/1 tbsp agave syrup

-400g/14oz can chopped tomatoes

-200ml/7fl oz/1 cup vegetable stock

-1 tbsp sun dried tomato paste (optional)

Step one, make the tofu balls: Tear up the drained tofu into little pieces then place this along with the grated onion, crushed garlic, mustard, ground cumin, chopped parsley, soy sauce, and ground almonds into a bowl. Season to taste and mix thoroughly. Roll up your sleeves and start rolling the mixture into walnut sized balls, squishing the mixture with your hands.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, then add the tofu balls (I would recommend trying out a couple of the balls first, our first attempt was rather a failure to say the least (see picture!) But, as you can see, we soon got the hang of it!).

Cook gently, turning them occasionally until brown all over. Remove from pan and set aside on some kitchen roll.

Step two, prepare the sauce: Heat the remaining oil in the same pan. Add the onion, and garlic and cook for 5 minutes until softened.

Add the aubergine, courgette, pepper, and agave syrup, and stir fry for around 10 minutes until vegetables begin to brown and have softened (as my handy assistant is doing in the photo to your left!) Season to taste.

Stir in the tomatoes  and stock (and sun dried tomato paste if using). Cover the mixture and simmer for about 20minutes or until sauce has thickened. Just before the end of cooking time add the tofu balls to the mix to heat through for about 2-3 minutes.

Meanwhile cook the pasta in a large pan of slightly salted, boiling water according to packet’s instructions.

Serve, garnished with basil.

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