Here is the long anticipated baking update. I’ve been reading lots of vegan foodie blogs and maybe some day I’ll get round to linking them, but in the mean time here’s what’s been cooking. And I’m including my adapted recipe for apple muffins, because they are the best muffins ever and just the other day I was getting cross with a blog for raving about a recipe then not supplying it. But that’s to come. Also, a rant about fake cheese.

Courtesey of Vegan Brunch;

Cinnamon rolls

Cinnamon rolls

Isa’s Cinnamon Roll recipe is better than the PPK one, and I made these for an unofficial brunch in that I wanted to make them so I invited Kate, Tim and Rob to come eat them with me. (Official brunch club seems to be on hold at the moment, I might host one in a few weeks.) They were certainly easier than the other one, and like I mentioned they are a bit healthier too. But I’m still not impressed. They take a lot of time, effort and mess for what they are, and frankly I think I’d rather eat a bowl of porridge with cinnamon and sugar, or a peice of good bread with jam. So I might not be making these again tbh. That said, I never bothered with the drizzly icing because by the time it gets to that stage I always feels like “You want me to get out another mixing bowl? Fat chance!” Maybe that icing makes it, but I doubt it, friends, I really do.

Muffins

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Lemon poppyseed (rocking the heartshaped silicone baking cases I got from Helena and Nat for my birthday. My housemates know me so incredibly well!) Of course they taste better for being heart-shaped. Nice and light and easy-peasy to make. A big hit.

Spelt courgette

Courgette-spelt muffins. (Muffins spelled C-O-U-R-G-E-T-T-E. Shut up, it tickled me.) These were… ok. They’re whole spelt, and you can really tell. They have a very “wholefoody” taste, not sweet at all, like digestive biscuits only more so. If you want a healthy mufin it’s a good recipe, little sugar and little oil, but they’re a bit joyless if you ask me. Put it this way, Sam says they go well with chilli. And if I, with my years at RHF, think it’s too wholegrainy then you know it must be true.

Moving on from Vegan Brunch, Helena requested the sausage casserole I made the other day. This is a really nice recipe, and I did it with overnight bread, which is still the best bread recipe ever. It’s basically sauteed onions and garlic, with squash or other earthy sweet veg like sweet potatoes added, cooked up in gravy then with veggie sausages added at the end. Lots of mustard and sage going on. It’s autumn in a bowl.

Bread and casserole

 

Also, moving on from semi-normal food, I am afraid I have taken the plunge into hardcore veganhood. The non-vegans might argue I was already there, but trust me, I wasn’t. Until now. Now I have attempted the mysterious alchemy that is macaroni and “cheese” with nutritional yeast. Dun Dun DUUUUUUH! (I’m still not using seitan and bought vegan cheese or scrambling my f-ing tofu though, fear not.)

I’ve been aware of the existance of nutritional yeast for many years, having sold it back at RHF (Rugby Health Foods where I used to work) but I always avoided it on the grounds that it looks and smells like fishfood flakes and is weird. It was always something other people ate, and I was not going there. But sometimes you need something creamy and yummy, and the “Nooch” as those at Post Punk Kitchen call it, was there at the wholefood shop so i took the plunge.

 I used this recipe for “Macaroni hates Cheese” from the PPK; http://theppk.com/recipes/dbrecipes/index.php?RecipeID=210

And it came out ok. I suppose. The first time I ate it I felt a bit sick because it was so creamy and rich, and the yeast taste is strange when you’ve been off cheese for a while.

Macaroni hates cheese

See, it looks right. Ok, so that’s spag not macaroni but shut up. Also love my bowl that I painted!

This was all inspired by the post over at Vegan YumYum here: http://veganyumyum.com/2007/10/mac-and-cheese-cheeze-yeast/ I didn’t do that recipe because it called for miso and tahini which I usually have in, but not this week. Hers looks a good deal more elegant than mine, and she summed up the whole taste better than I could

Mac and Cheese. Cheeze? Yeast?

October 17th, 2007 Stumble it! <!–Lolo–>

Mac and Cheeze and Broccoli

There are innumerable recipes for vegan mac and cheese on the internet. I’ve tried a lot of them. Some of them simply call for “slices of soy cheese” and some vegetable stock to be mixed over pasta. The majority, however, require nutritional yeast, and they usually also require making a roux. The recipe below is from my upcoming cookbook, and it’s one of my favorites. However, if you’ll indulge me for a moment, there are some things about vegan mac and cheeze I want to talk about.

Now, I’m the first to admit “Mac and Yeast” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it. That’s why I tend to call it “Mac and Cheeze”. But I’m also the first to admit that these recipes, even the best of them, don’t really taste all that much like mac and cheese. Some get much closer than others, and a lot are downright tasty. But it’s not cheese. Your omnivore or veggie friend/spouse/child may love it as much as or even more than the real stuff (if you’re lucky), but they probably love it on its own merits, not because they really can’t tell the difference.

But you know what? It doesn’t have to taste exactly the same for me to love it.

A lot of people, myself included, are really interested in making vegan food that’s indistinguishable from the “real” thing. It’s a fun challenge, and oftentimes, a challenge where you can really and truly be successful. But there are many instances where you don’t create something identical, but what you do create is actually good. Different, but yummy. While vegan mac and cheese doesn’t taste exactly like non-vegan mac and cheese, it satisfies the same craving. It’s rich and creamy and salty and vaguely cheese-like. It’s a yummy, thick creamy sauce to top noodles with.

I think that sometimes it’s enough to satisfy your cravings with something similar, if you can’t find something identical. After three years of being vegan, I don’t even crave mac and cheese anymore; I crave mac and yeast.

I think expectation is important with food. If it looks like a grape, you expect it to taste like a grape. If I hand you a glass of sparkling wine and tell you it’s gingerale, you might be put off when you take a sip. You might even like wine, but you expected it to be, well, not wine. If I say, “here, try this mac and cheese” and give you mac and yeast, you might be disappointed when you tasted it. If you’ve never tried a mac and yeast recipe before, and you want to try this one, keep in mind that it doesn’t taste like cheese.

It just tastes like yummy”

Well said there. This is not something I’d ever feed a nonvegan. If I did I would not call it Macaroni Cheese or some tongue-in-cheek variation because the words “Vegan cheese” makes most people go “Aaaauuugh!” and for good reason. I’d only ever serve it as “pasta with creamy sauce”, because that’s what it is.

Anyway, to round this off I’m going back the whole muffin thing to proudly present Gracey’s Apple Muffin Recipe. This is the first recipe I’ve adapted enough to call my own and post on my blog, so here it is. If anyone wants to test it out for me (Here’s looking at you, Mr Paul) then I would love them forever.

These are the best muffins ever. I’ve probrably tried 20 or so recipes over the last year and these win. Pretty healthy in that they are light on the sugar and oil, and you can get up to half wholegrain flour without them tasting remotely wholefoody. You can sub that for wholegrain slept, and use half honey, agave or maple syrup instead of sugar but they won’t rise nearly so much and the texture will be wrong. They’re really filling and not too cake-y, so if you need an emergency breakfast you feel like you did have breakfast, not a cake, which is the main fuction of muffins for me. Repeat after me; muffins are not cupcakes. You all know I love cupcakes, but sometimes you need a proper muffin. This is for those times.

Apple Muffins (Makes 12 big ones)

2 cups plain four

2 cups wholewheat pastry flour or wholewheat with the bits seived out

1tsp salt

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp ground cloves

1 cup soya milk

2 capfulls cider vinegar

4 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil

2/3 cup sugar (plus extra for sprinkling)

2 cups applesauce

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C. Mix together the flour and dry ingredients in a bowl, make a well in the middle and pour in the other ingredients. Mix gently but thoroughly until combined, Spoon into muffin cases and sprinkle the tops with a bit of cinnamon and brown sugar, to make them crunchy and sparkly. Bake for 25 minutes.

TaDaaaah!

Apple muffin

 

And for your pleasure and delight, here is gratuitous forest picture of the week. Beech leaves on the turn at Ashton Court;

Ashton court 24.10

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