Thursday, 31 July 2008

fava pizza

Potato pizza crust made from TMSBE topped with layer of yellow zucchini and then baked. Once done, topped with fresh fava beans, garlic, lemon and parsley. I also did one with multicoloured tomatoes and fresh basil to take for lunch tomorrow. Ooooooh. The omnis eating cafeteria food are going to be so jealous.

pizza sing-along with Aladin Sane, of course.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

spicy pink loooooove/ginger dal. call it what you will.

Beets + ginger + lentils = threesome that was meant to be. And oh so pretty. Beetroot dal: boil up a cup or so of red lentils, 2 beets chopped into little cubes, half a tsp tumeric and a few cloves of garlic. In a pan, drop a bit of oil and let it heat until it's really really damn hot. Add a little sprinkle of asafoetida, then a tsp or so of mustard seeds, then an extra-giant tsp of black cumin. Step back, and if/when you get brave enough to approach the pan again, add a small handful of curry leaves. When the fun subsides, add a chopped onion, and when that kinda gets coated in the whole spices add a tablespoon of ground coriander and a tsp of ground cumin. Fry on low heat, adding water as necessary (I use less than a tsp of oil for this...just to pop the seeds). When the onions are cooked through, add 2 chopped tomatoes, as much ginger as you can stand (I used about 3 heaping tbs of grated fresh ginger), and some salt. Drop the heat to low and cook until mushy. When it's mushy, add this mush to the cooked lentil mixture. Taste. Adjust salt and pepper. Add lemon or tamarind. All the heat in this comes from (some would say overly) liberal use of ginger and black pepper, but if you feel the need to be manly, add chilli. See if I care. I am secure enough in my manlyness to be able to enjoy the ginger/black pepper combo of heat here. Throw in at least half a cup of chopped fresh coriander, or a big dollop of coriander chutney. Eat over rice. I imagine it would also be damn good with potato roti, but I'm tired of potato roti, which I never thought would happen, but it did. I'm so fickle.

Spicy pink love music: Ella Sheilds

Sunday, 27 July 2008

mole,magic yuba, vast amounts of Dutch junk food.

Oh my. I met up with Tulmeltje, who was in Scotland on a piping gig. We did an exchange of fun and junk foods, as vegans are prone to doing when they meet up. Part of the fun is that somebody else has read all the ingredients for you and you can just eat the stuff with reckless abandon (though that would cause some sort of insulin coma in this case... it would be a vegan coma). I had mentioned a few posts back that I love salt licorice, and I think she brought me enough to last several lifetimes. Thanks! Also, what you see in that jar at the back is *spreadable cookies*. I kid you not. Aaaaaand, a tote bag with a viking playing the bagpipes!!!! Oooooh! All the other kids in the veg store are going to be so jealous! I am so cool! Yay for vegan meetups! It was a lovely afternoon and even though I have an unreasonable fear of meeting new people and have been called "a bit much" on more than one occasion, it all went swimmingly. Tulmeltje was nice and not scary at all and funny and smart and everything. We climbed Arthur's Seat, which seems to be what I do with all my visitors. 

Other than that,... I made mole and magic yuba for a dinner party this weekend. What you see here are the leftovers... Mole: dry roast about 2 tbs each of ground sesame seeds, ground almonds, and crushed coriander seeds, along with 5-6 crushed black peppercorns, 2 crushed cloves, and 1tbs of crushed cumin seeds. Throw in a few crushed peanuts if you want. Oh come on, you know you want to. If you plan on using dry chillies (smoked ones), you can add them here. When that's all toasted, put in in a bowl and set it aside. Then fry up one chopped onion and 3 cloves of chopped garlic. When the onion gets translucent, add 4 tbs unsweetened cocoa, half a tsp of cinnamon powder and the spices/nuts from earlier. Keep frying until it starts sticking, then add either a can of chopped tomatoes, or 5-7 actual chopped tomatoes, plus enough veg stock to make a nice thick sauce. Add a handful of raisins. If you're using canned chipotle (in adobo sauce...yum), add 5 or so of them here, plus a goodly amount of sauce. Add some salt. Chuckle to yourself at how good the kitchen smells. Let that simmer until it's all reduced and yum (about 30 mins), and then blend the whole mess. Take out some or all of the chilies beforehand if you want it less hot. Return the whole blended mess to a pot and add in 30-50 grammes dark chocolate, stirring until it melts. Done. This is best done the night before, because it tastes SO MUCH BETTER the next day.

I served this over magic yuba, which is not actually magic, but IS actually yuba (dried tofu skin). It's available in most asian supermarkets. Rehydrate a package of it in water. Drain. Make the following marinade: 1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari, just less than 1/4 cup maple syrup or agave, a tsp of mustard, a tsp of marmite, some oregano, about 2 tbs balsamic vinegar, 1 tbs really olive-ish olive oil. Also, make the following filling in a bowl: 1 block smoked tofu, frozen, thawed and crumbled (or plain tofu mixed with smoked paprika), 1 tbs capers, choppped, a bit of marmite (scant tsp), smoked salt, pepper, a heaping tbs of tahini, some nutritional yeast if you have it (in that case skip the marmite) and enough rice flour to soak up any liquid. You now need a pan with a tight-fitting lid. Now, using half the yuba, layer a few sheets of yuba in a pan, a bit of marinade, a few more sheets, a bit more marinade.. when you've used half the yuba, put the filling on it and fold the edges around the filling. Top with the rest of the yuba sheets, layering with marinade. Dump the rest of the marinade on top. Add a bit of water, and cover with the lid and cook/steam for a good half hour. Check periodically to make sure you haven't run out of liquid and begun welding the yuba to the pan. Then, if you have a broiler, drizzle olive oil on the top and stick under the broiler. If you have no broiler, you will have to pan-fry the whole mess. Good luck. It will kind of look like mock duck. Flip it over, drizzle, and broil the other side. Done. It's sort of stuffed mock duck-ish, but better. Some day, I may get around to posting a more picture-heavy how-to on this one. Anyway, put mole sauce on it, and sprinkle everything with cacao nibs and eat it on rice or with corn tortillas. We also had olives and the most lovely green salad ever (with flowers!).

A confession: Day to day, I mostly cook indian-ish or japanesey food. Oddly, I don't seem to post much of that. Huh. I mean, I make mole about twice a year. Sheesh. But it is yummerific.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

stupid human tricks and grumpy hummous

This is a great article. It's George Monbiot covering a Channel 4 "documentary" about how climate change might not reeeeeeeeeeeally be our fault. Uh... I think his statement about watching a preview of a film called The Age of Stupid is particularly astute, even if it's the kind of accusation that people will rile against (as they slurp their $5 mocha in a disposable cup on the way to their air-conditioned car to drive 6 blocks):
The most powerful story of all, endlessly narrated by the hired hands of the fossil fuel industry, just as it was once told by the sugar slavers, is that we are both all-important and utterly insignificant. We are too important to be denied any of the delights we crave, but too insignificant to exert any impact on planetary processes. We fill the whole frame of the story when it suits us and shrink to a dot when that scale is more convenient. We are capable of occupying both niches simultaneously.

This is pretty much how I see people's carnism. I often hear from omnivores "oh, I like cheese too much to ever be vegan", or "I like leather too much to not use it". Yup. In other words "I am so important that I kill needlessly for my palate and kinks". This is often coupled with a denial of the atrocities committed by the animal-industrial complex... "oh, I only buy free-range/organic meat" or "I don't eat that much meat/dairy/eggs/insert random animal product here". If you ask, it's pretty rare that omnis who consume these "ethical" animal products have actually gone through any trouble to find out how the animals are treated, choosing instead to believe whatever the propaganda mill of the company that stands to make a profit from said products tells them. Because a company would never lie to you in order to make money, would they?

People are good at denial and ego. Yay us.

And those of us who "like meat too much to go vegan"... apparently people can't actually tell the difference between meat and vegetarian (vegan?) sausage anyway. So give up the lame excuses, okay?

The urge to bang my head on the wall is so strong, I can't even post a bad food picture. Here, have a pictureless hummous recipe:

For pomegranate hummous: Blend a whack (2 cups) of cooked chickpeas with about 2 tbs of pomegranate molasses, 1.5-2 heads of roasted garlic, salt, a few tbs of nutritional yeast, a tbs or so of tahini, a whole lemon worth of juice, and 1-2 tsps of dry-roasted ground cumin. If it's too stiff, use water or olive oil to make it the consistency you want. I use water. This goes really really well with red peppers. In fact, I may have eaten an entire red pepper, using this hummous as dip, while I wrote today's rant.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Radish karhi and a rant about packaging.

Hey! You know that curry-udon taste? Well, here's something very similar: karhi. In fact, it may be the same thing. I have no idea, and I'm not going to fire up the Google and find out right now. Deal. I avoided karhi for years after an unfortunate incident that I refuse to discuss ever again, so gross was it. But this was lovely. Apparently exorcising one's past culinary disasters can yield yum. This is basically a chickpea flour and yogurt soup. Use soy yogurt for a non-death version. Start with a few tbs of chickpea flour (say 3) dissolved in some water, then once you have avoided The Dreaded Lumps, add more water (say 2 cups) and a few tbs of soy yogurt (say 4) or blended silken tofu (I used the yogurt because i had it on hand). Bring to a simmer. Add a few lovely fenugreek seeds and scant half teaspoon of cumin, 6 or so curry leaves, salt, a smidge of sugar, and as much veg as you want/can fit in the pot (I used radish and mixed bitter greens of uncertain name. i wanted something bitter since the sauce is very very mellow. I didn't add the greens until the end, because they're delicate. Peppery and exciting and bite-y, yet delicate. Kind of like me.). While that simmers, fry up a tsp of mustard seeds and a goodly amount of grated ginger and some chillies, and throw that in too. I had an annoying 1/4 cup of chickpeas left over from something, so I threw those in, but I wasn't really planning to until the very last minute. Cook until it doesn't taste like raw chickpea flour anymore (about 20 mins). Throw in some fresh coriander. Garnish with little flower petals. Eat with leftover potato roti, or on rice. Or *evil cackle* on udon noodles. This was a lovely pale pinkish colour from the radishes and the flower petals and greens looked so pretty. Win. Plus, it photographed exceptionally poorly (colour-wise), which amuses me.

I have nothing deep and meaningful to say today. So just a rant. I moved to the U.K. from Germany, and have been constantly shocked by the amount of packaging here. Granted, gratuitous packaging is pretty ubiquitous in the western world, but the U.K. seems particularly bad (from my sample of living in Canada, France, Germany and the U.K., and doing a fair amount of travelling elsewhere). I refuse to buy overpackaged vegetables even when they're cheaper than the free-range ones. Sometimes I just get angry in stores and leave, pepperless. Who the hell decided that bell peppers had to be strapped to a styrofoam plate? Are you people INSANE? Sheesh. And do you really need a different little plastic bag for each and every vegetable? REALLY? When I run the world, disposable packaging is going to cost about $50 per bag (as will plastic water bottles). That'll teach you to "forget" your reusable carrier bags or not use your backpacks. Grrrrrrr. Also, anyone carrying plastic bags will be publicly mocked. I get that we're supposed to be nice to each other, but a little bit of peer pressure to carry reusable bags and not use a million stupid clear veg bags wouldn't be such a bad thing.

ranty ranty ranty ranty: Faith No More (We care a lot)
I think the music inspired the rant tonight, rather than the other way around.

Sunday, 13 July 2008


Sometimes I get this need to make vast quantities of sushi. I don't know where it comes from, but I do know that I can't really fight it. I mean, sometimes I just make myself a few rolls of raw veg/avocado sushi for dinner/lunch the next day, but occasionally, I want to make many different kinds all at once, which means I need brave souls to help me out by coming over to eat. Feeding people is always fun, though nothing compares to the delighted faces that people make when when they walk in and see an entire table of sushi. So delicious. Some of the rolls were: chocolate (chocolate olive tapenade...which is really just melted chocolate and chopped kalamata olives and some garlic...., cucumber, ume paste and a little salted chocolate sail for the top), spicy eggplant and greens with sesame, sweet potato tempura with wasabi mayo (for the mayo, blend 1 pack firm silken tofu with 1tbs apple cider vinegar, some salt and some sugar and as much wasabi as you can handle), many mushroom (enoki, shitake, and some I don't know the names of), mock eel (those are the ones that are arranged in little pinwheels...the "eel" is just yuba, wakame and dried mushrooms soaked together and then drained and then put through a blender with some capers, soy sauce and smoked paprika. Then I added rice flour until it was not gooey, and then wrapped the not-goo in nori and fried that. ), and tofu pouches stuffed with salty sesame rice. There were also some that were various combinations of raw veg (carrots, cukes, avocado, chives), and some tiny ones that were pickled ginger and shiso. It was fun. The salads are spicy konnyaku (konnyaku cut into strips and fried in sesame oil, then simmered in konbu stock and then spiced up with red pepper and citrus), and a wakame/cucumber salad. There's a bowl of veg tempura in the middle of the table (mostly potato and zucchini), because it seemed silly to stop after just doing enough sweet potato for the sushi. Once you're deep frying stuff, you might as well keep going until the batter is used up.

Thursday, 10 July 2008


One of my friends used to call me Noodles, because I like them so much. I don't post many noodle dishes because they're my default fast dinner food, and if I'm making a fast dinner food, I probably don't think to take a picture and post it. Last night, however, was an exception, since I almost spilled noodles on my computer, thus reminding me of it's existence just in time for me to snap a photo. Soba noodles with eggplant. If you're a fast chopper like me, you can do the entire eggplanty bit while the soba noodles boil, I swear. Fry the eggplant in a bit of sesame oil. When it starts to get crispy on the outside, add red pepper and fresh ginger. When you're just about ready to eat, throw on a sauce made of soy sauce, mirin, sake (or vermouth, if you're classy like me). At this point, I had some grand plan to add edamame for colour, but I was so hungry that I forgot about it. Anyway, if you're less absentminded than I am, add something green. When th sauce reduces a bit, put the whole mess in a bowl. Top with japanese pepper flakes (combo of pepper, citrus and sesame), crushed sesame seeds, crumbled nori, and pickled ginger. Sluuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurp!

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

very exciting jacket potatoes

I've been traveling in England for work, which means that I've been eating a lot of jacket potatoes and beans. It kinda got me into a baked potato mood. Baked sweet potato stuffed with broccoli. Broccoli: Cumin, ground white poppyseeds, onion, tomato, chilli, ginger, methi leaves broccoli, graram masala, okara, salt, lemon juice. Oh yeah. Pop the cumin in a tiny bit of hot oil, then add the onions, garam masala and poppyseeds. When the onions brown add the tomato, chili, ginger and methi leaves and let that reduce to a mush. Then add the broccoli and cook that. Stir in the okara, salt and lemon juice at the end. Eat and make little happy noises. These two things go so well together. I also had a glass of Peckham's Sauvignon Blanc, which is vegan, even though it's not on the Peckham's vegan wine list. The nice wine dude there checked for me. Wooohoooo!

And a little tiny rant to all you "vegans" out there who eat fish. Fish is not a vegetable. Please consult your 1st grade biology curriculum if you need to review the differences between animals and plants. Sheesh. Just call yourself omnivores if you are one, okay? Because it confuses people, and then when I go out into the world, people offer me fish and then I have to turn it down, and they inevitably tell me about some vegan they met who ate fish (or chicken, or ...and this is my favorite...pepperoni). For crying out loud, if you want to take the moral high ground of being vegan, be vegan, because clearly you understand you should be vegan if you're bothering to lie about it. If you're just a picky eater, than own up to it. If you're on a diet, then ... well...own up to that. Just stop pretending like you don't know the difference between an animal and a plant, because if you *really* don't get that, I'm going to have to staple a dunce cap to your head.

Bonus feature: photo of my favorite stop sign in the world. It makes me smile every day on the way to work. Every. Single. Day.

Ranty ranty broccoli music: joan jett. fake friends.