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Cooking with Tempeh, Tofu & Seitan

25 Mar

Our most recent Gloucestershire Vegan Group event was a vegan cooking skill-share, on the topic of cooking with tofu, tempeh & seitan.

We prepared a dish for each of the featured ingredients, following favourite recipes and chatted about the best ways to prepare these foods.

The recipes we followed were from two cookbooks; Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, and Viva Vegan by Terry Hope Romero. These are excellent cookbooks, Veganomicon has hundreds of tasty vegan recipes encompassing worldwide cuisines. Viva Vegan focuses on Mexican vegan recipes, and is great for those who love chilli and garlic in equal measure.


 

Tasty Tofu

Tofu comes in many forms, to name a few: silken tofu (used mainly in desserts or Japanese dishes), firm tofu (used in stir-frys, baked or scrambled) and yuba tofu (the rich skin of soya milk, bought as dried sheets and used in stews or Japanese dishes). A our skill share we were cooking with a plain firm tofu, which you can buy in blocks in health food shops and supermarkets. My favourite shop-bought kind made by Taifun, which is extra firm and chewy. But other makes such as Dragonfly and Cauldren work well in this recipe. Firm tofu cooks best after being sliced and patted dry with a sheet of kitchen towel or clean tea-towel. This absorbs some of the moisture and allows the outside to crisp up well.

The tofu recipe we followed was Chimichurri Baked Tofu from the excellent Latin-inspired cookbook Viva Vegan by Terry Hope Romero, this oven-baked tofu is coated in a rich, smoky, herby sauce and is intensely flavourful, with a wonderful chewy texture.

Chimichurri Baked tofu

Chimichurri Baked tofu

Recipe:
Serves 4, two slices each of tofu
Time: About 55 minutes

Ingredients
* 1 pound extra-firm tofu
* 2 Tb olive oil
* 1 Tb soy sauce
* Chimichurri Sauce with Smoked Paprika (See Below)

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Slice the tofu into eight 1/2 inch thick slices and dab the slices dry with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel. In a shallow glass 9×12 inch baking dish, combine the olive oil and soy sauce. Lay a tofu slice in the baking dish, pressing it into the sauce mixture. Repeat with the remaining slices and bake for 30 minutes, flipping once, until the slices are beginning to brown on the edges. Remove from the oven but don’t turn the oven off.

2. With a rubber spatula or large spoon, spread about a third of the chimichurri sauce evenly and completely over the tops of the tofu. Flip the slices and spread another third or slightly more on top of the tofu. If desired, use a fork to poke holes through the tofu, pressing a little bit of sauce into the center of the pieces. Bake for another 25 minutes, until the tofu is firm and the edges are golden brown. Bake longer if an even chewier texture is desired. Serve the tofu hot with remaining chimichurri sauce.

Chimichurri Sauce with Smoked Paprika
Makes about 1 1/2 cups sauce
Time : Less than 10 minutes

Ingredients
* 4 cloves garlic, chopped
* 2 large shallots, chopped
* 1 large bunch flat leaf ( Italian ) parsley, thick stems removed
* 1/3 cup olive oil
* 3 Tb red wine vinegar
* 1 tsp smoked sweet paprika
* 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
* 1 tsp dried basil
* 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or more to taste
* 1/2 tsp sea salt

Directions
1. Place the garlic, shallots and parsley into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Stream in the olive oil, red wine vinegar, paprika, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, and sea salt, and pulse until creamy. Taste the sauce and adjust with more salt or red wine vinegar, if desired. Store in a tightly covered container and keep chilled until ready to use.

 


 

Tempting Tempeh

Tempeh is traditionally from Indonesia. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds cooked soya beans into patty, much like a veggie burger. Tempeh is looks ugly but taste great if prepared well. It often has black patches from naturally occuring harmless moulds that are part of the culturing process. You can buy it frozen or refrigerated in health food shops, such as Sunshine Foods in Stroud or The Natural Grocery Store in Cheltenham. It’s also sold in jars. The brand most commonly available in the UK seems to be Impulse Foods Tempeh.

Most recipes advise steaming tempeh or boiling for ten minutes in salted water, to help release the bitterness. This process seems to be the key to cooking with Tempeh and keeping it tasty. Tempeh has a fantastic succulent texture, and readily absorbs marinades and sauces, which make it great to cook with.

The tempeh recipe we used was Hot-Sauce Glazed Tempeh from that vegan-bible of a cookbook Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.

Hot-sauce glazed tempeh

Hot-sauce glazed tempeh

Recipe:

Ingredients:
8 ounce package of tempeh
1/2 cup wine (whatever kind you’ve got on hand, just nothing sweet)
1/4 cup hot sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (juice from 1 lemon)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions:
Bring a pot of water to boil.
Whisk all marinade ingredients together in a bowl large enough to fit the tempeh slices.
Cut the tempeh to form 8 triangles. When the water is boiling, add the tempeh, lower the heat and steam for 10 minutes.
Use tongs to remove the tempeh and then immediately place them in the marinade bowl for 1 hour, flipping them every now again to cover with the marinade.
Preheat a greased grill pan over medium high heat. Brush lightly with olive oil
Grill each side for 5 minutes. When the second side is almost done, spoon some of the marinade over the tempeh and let cook for 30 more seconds.
:


Splendid Seitan

A ball of steamed seitan waiting to be marinaded.

A ball of steamed seitan waiting to be marinaded.

Seitan or wheat-meat is the insoluble protien in wheat, used historically in the cuisines of China, Japan and other East and Southeast Asian countries. The Natural Grocery Store in Cheltenham sells ready-made seitan. You can buy Gluten Powder online here amongst other places. It’s easy to make and flavour with whatever spices and herbs take your fancy. You can shape it into sausages, or make balls for slicing into sandwiches.

Seitan has a satisfying chewy texture, and works well in pasties, sandwiches, stews, stir-frys and mexican cooking.

We followed the Steamed White Seitan Recipe from Terry Hope Romero’s ‘Viva Vegan’ Cookbook, then marinaded and roasted it.

Recipe:

Steamed white seitan

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (or chicken flavoured broth)
4 garlic cloves (grated)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt (to taste)

1. In a jug whisk together broth, garlic, olive oil. In a large bowl combine wheat gluten, chickpea flour, nutritional yeast, thyme, paprika, cumin, and salt. Form a well in centre of dry ingredients and stir well with rubber spatula until dough leaves side of the bowl.
2. Knead for 2-3 mins to develop gluten.
3. Leave dough to rest for 10 min, knead again for 30 seconds.
4. Place dough on cutting board and cut into 4 equal pieces.
5. Tear off 4 X12 inch pieces of foil and place piece of dough in centre of foil, fold the short sides of the foil over the loaf, the fold over the ends the foil should be secure but loose allowing for it to expand. Place in steamer basket and steam for 30 minutes Allow the dough to cool to the touch before chilling in fridge or overnight.
6. Store seitan in the fridge tightly sealed in a plastic bag for up to 2 weeks or freeze, defrost before use.

For the marinade:
1 cup light-colored beer, preferably Mexican
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 chipotle peppers in adobo, seeded and finely chopped
2 teaspoons chipotle adobo sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

2.    In a large bowl, whisk together beer, garlic, chipotles, adobo sauce, oregano, cumin, lime juice, olive oil, and salt. Add seitan strips, and marinate for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3.   Roast in the oven until golden and crispy on the edges, adding the marinade when the seitan is browned and roasting for a further 10 mins.

 

Happy cooking!

Staying vegan, staying healthy!

29 May
Because we eat more than just carrots!

Because we eat more than just carrots!

Looking after your nutritional needs on a vegan diet, will enable you to stay healthy, happy and vegan.

Gloucestershire Vegan Group thought it would be good to swot-up on a few nutritional facts, and learn some more about how to eat healthfully. We were lucky enough to have a local and vegan-friendly nutritional therapist come to speak to our group. She guided us carefully through the essentials of vegan nutrition, answering any questions about vitamins, minerals, eating habits and health generally.

Below are some key points from the Gloucestershire Vegan Group nutrition talk with a few bits added in from the Vegan Society’s webpage – where you can find plenty more details on nutrition if you wish to read up:

Growing your own is a great way to eat seasonally and locally

Growing your own is a great way to eat seasonally and locally

Vegan Nutrition Top Tips:

• Eat locally grown, seasonal, organic, freshly cooked food, where possible – it’s good for you and for the environment, organic food has a higher mineral content because the soil is nurtured and replenished. Organic farming methods are wildlife friendly, vegan organic farming methods even more so.
• Eat a variety of whole grains, pulses, nuts, seeds and vegetables everyday – try not to become overly dependent on one kind of foodstuff (e.g wheat or soya)
• Try to avoid too many foods that have been heavily processed
• Eat foods you like!

• Tune into your body – listen out for signs and symptoms

 

B12

B12 is perhaps the most important vitamin for vegans to be aware of because it is not reliably supplied in a plant-based diet. Vitamin B12 is crucial to the functioning of our central nervous system, so clinical deficiency can damage this, as well as causing anaemia.

The only reliable source of B12 for vegans comes from foods fortified with B12 (Some plant milks, soy products, breakfast cereals, yeast flakes, yeast extract) and B12 supplements. Sublingual supplements such as this one: http://www.devanutrition.com/vitamin_b12.html work best (these diffuse into the blood through tissues under the tongue).

The vegan society recommends:
•    eat fortified foods two or three times a day to get at least three micrograms (μg or mcg) of B12 a day or
•    take one B12 supplement daily providing at least 10 micrograms or
•    take a weekly B12 supplement providing at least 2000 micrograms.

Symptoms of B12 deficiency include loss of energy, tingling, numbness, reduced sensitivity to pain, blurred vision, abnormal gait, sore tongue, poor memory, confusion, hallucinations and personality changes.

If in doubt you can ask your GP for a blood test to check B12 levels.

 

Iron

Iron is needed in the body for the formation of blood. Good vegan sources of iron include:
pulses, nuts, seeds green leafy vegetables. Iron absobtion is improved by combining iron-rich foods with vitamin C rich foods such as a fresh salad, cauliflower or orange juice.

 

Sunlight is the best source of Vitamin D

Sunlight is the best source of Vitamin D

Vitamin D

Is produced naturally by our bodies, by sunlight on our skin. To ensure adequate amounts, try to regularly expose at least your arms and face directly to the sun (without sunscreen on) between the hours of 11am-3pm – when the sun is hottest, being careful not to overdo your sunbathing and burn.

A dietary intake of vitamin D, from fortified foods or supplements may be necessary for some in the winter. If you chose to supplement Vitamin D, there are two types of vitamin D: D2 and D3. D3 is more potent – most forms of D3 are not suitable for vegans, as it is typically produced from sheep wool. There is however, one kind of commercially available D3 suitable for vegans called Vitashine.

 

 

Bone Health

Calcium is needed for bone health. Plant-based sources of calcium include: green leafy vegetables
(especially kale!) tahini, figs, kombu, fortified foods such as soya milk.

Calcium does not work alone in improving our bones, other nutrients such as Vitamin D, Vitamin K, protein and potassium also have a role to play.

Weight bearing exercise is also important to increase bone density –  weight bearing exercises are any where your feet and legs support your weight such as walking, running, skipping, dancing or aerobics.

 

Omega 3 (Alpha-Linolenic Acid)

Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA) is converted by the body into Eiocosapentaenoic acid (EPA) which is used by the body to regulate many processes including inflammation and blood-clotting .

Dietary sources of ALA include flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds and rapeseed, and also oils made from these seeds. Flax seeds need to be ground because otherwise their hard casing makes the nutrients less available.

Vegan Nutrition Websites:

The Vegan RD
Jack Norris RD

Vegan Society Nutrition Section

Organic food can be expensive! Here are some places to buy good value organic food locally:

Newark Farm stall at Stroud Farmer’s Markert, Cornhill Stroud – every Saturday – probably the best value organic vegetables you’ll find locally.

StroudCo Food Hub   a not for profit organisation, with no retail shop to keep costs lower. StroudCo Food Hub sells organic grains and pulses amongst other things and delivers to drop-off points locally. Order online from their website.

Wild Food

18 Mar

We’re so lucky in Gloucestershire to have many wildlife-rich and green areas close by. Spring is almost here, and bringing with it the first shoots of spring leaves. Wild Garlic and Nettles are two great ingredients which are easy to find growing in the woods and fields around this time of year, and can be made into yummy vegan dishes.

Wild Garlic

The distinctive green leaves and star shaped flowers of wild garlic

The distinctive green leaves and star shaped flowers of wild garlic

Also known as Ramsons –  Is a wild relative of chives with pungent bright green garlic-flavoured leaves. It grows vigorously in woodlands and other shaded areas and when walking in woods carpeted with Wild Garlic leaves in Spring, the garlicky aroma will fill the air. It has beautiful white star-shaped flowers which are also edible, as are the bulbs. Wild Garlic can be eaten raw, added to soups or stir-frys, and be made into pesto. Be aware that Wild garlic leaves can be easily mistaken for Lily of the Valley, which is poisonous, so always be careful and crush the leaves to check for the garlic smell.

Wild Garlic Pesto

hey pesto!

hey pesto!

3 large handfuls of Wild Garlic Leaves (washed and dried)

1/2 cup walnuts

1 shallot or small onion

juice of half a lemon

1 clove garlic

3 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil

1 tsp salt

Method:

Blend it all up until it’s a smooth-ish bright green paste. Taste and add a little more salt or lemon juice if required.

Serve with pasta or vegan gnocci, spread on bread with hummus or use as a dip. Keeps in a jar in the fridge for about a week. Good for keeping vampires at bay! 

Nettles

Just wear gloves when picking these prickly plants

Just wear gloves when picking these prickly plants

Stinging nettles seem to grow everywhere. They have a long history of culinary and medicinal uses, including being used as a remedy for arthritis. Nettles are rich in vitamin A, C, iron, potassium, manganese, and calcium.

They are also very tasty, having a flavour somewhat similar to spinach, with a little perfumed floral hint to them.

Don’t be put of by their spikes, pick them using rubber gloves. Luckily for us they do not sting after they’ve been cooked or soaked in water.

Velvety Nettle Soup

( a Rose Elliot Recipe)

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 onion peeled and chopped

1 baking potato

4oz nettle tops

1L Vegetable Stock

Salt, pepper and nutmeg

Squeeze of lemon juice

vegan cream – optional

Method:

• Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and potatoes, stir, then cover and cook for 5 minutes.
• Add the nettles, cover and cook for a further 5 minutes, then add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for about 15 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
• Blend in a food processor or with a stick blender until completely smooth.
• Season with salt, pepper, grated nutmeg and a little squeeze of lemon juice to brighten the flavour – it needs strong seasoning.
• Delicious served either hot or chilled, with a swirl of vegan cream.

Vegan Organic Growing – a trip to a local allotment

27 Aug

Enjoying a well-earned picnic after our walk from Stroud

On a rare sunny summer morning, Gloucestershire Vegans ventured on a hilly and occasionally swampy off-road route from Stroud to visit Amanda Godber’s vegan-organic allotment and to share a picnic.

As vegans our diet is entirely plant-based, which for some more curious vegans, makes it difficult to ignore where the plants we eat are grown and what processes go into their production.

Unfortunately we find that almost all of the vegetables we eat, even those organically produced are grown using the by-products of animal farming. Conventionally farmers use animal manure, slurry and also left-overs from the slaughterhouse or other animal industries such as blood, fish and bone. Not only does this sound unappealing (fancy a lettuce grown in abattoir floor-scrapings anyone?  – no I thought not.), but the sale of animal by-products to growers supports animal farming industries – something which vegans try to avoid. Using animal by-products to grow vegetables also increases the risk that animal-borne diseases spread to humans through the food supply. Fortunately we do not need animal by-products to grow fantastic veg and keep soil healthy and fertile.

Amanda giving us the tour

Amanda Godber is just one such person who is proving this to be the case. She is a experienced professional gardener who runs the inspiring local growing co-operative Down-to-Earth. They help people to grow their own veg in their own gardens, giving them confidence in growing, sharing knowledge and practical help. Her allotment is in Thrupp, a short walk out from the centre of Stroud on the brow of a steep and wooded hillside, looking out over Rodborough Common. She maintains the soil fertility by using home-made compost, created from plant matter such as grass-clippings and vegetable peelings.

shed of a compost guru!

Amanda is a composting guru, and gave a talk at the recent Edible Open Gardens explaining how she has several compost bays made from old pallets, which she fills with plant material and turns several times a year. She keeps the compost covered, to prevent it becoming too wet, and waters it during long dry spells. She never composts persistent weeds such as dandelions or bindweed, preferring to leave them in a bucket of water to rot. She allows self-seeded potatoes and nasturtiums to grow in her compost bins, which splay out from between the slats producing foliage and vivid orange flowers.

It is no wonder that Amanda takes her composting so seriously, as she relies on it to provide the fertility for her allotment veg. She uses it as a mulch layer on top of the soil, preferring not to dig it in and disturb the natural soil structure. Other vegan-organic growers use green-manures or mulches made from composted wood-chip, or straw, but Amanda prefers to make compost as she has a ready supply of garden ‘waste’ from her job.

pretty and practical: edible calendula flowers growing amongst vegetables

Amanda’s allotment is alive and bustling with vegetables – despite it being one of the worst years for gardening  anyone can ever remember. On the tour of her plot she showed us her greenhouse which has huge bunches of Pinot Noir grapes and a plump and wrinkled variety of tomato. She also showed us her wonderful runner beans, huge parsnip plants, multi-coloured sweetcorn and long blue squashes. All of these vegetables were nestled amongst vast colourful clumps of calendula, nasturtiums and feverfew. She grows flowers edible and otherwise amongst her vegetables to attract pollinating insects. She also has a wildlife area complete with small pond, hedgehog and toad houses, and a magpie bath. All of this she hopes will make her allotment more wildlife-friendly and attract natural predators to garden pests, which enables her to avoid using nasty products such as slug pellets.
There are a few other vegan-organic growers in the UK, some just growing for themselves on small allotment plots such as Amanda, others feeding the masses with farm-scale plots, producing veg-boxes and selling at farmer’s markets or shops. To find out more about vegan-organic growing techniques, visit the Vegan-Organic Network’s website. Or visit a vegan-organic farm: Tolhurst Organics is one of the nearest, and it often has open days organised by the Vegan-Organic Network.

Devine ‘Cheese’ & Fine Wine

5 Aug

One of our ‘cheese’boards – clockwise from left: Sheese Cheese & Chives, Cheshire Sheese, Gouda Sheese, Blue Style Cheezly, Pepperjack Cheezly

On a stormy summer evening we gathered in a couple of vegan group members’ small but cosy living-room to sample a range of vegan cheeses and quaff vegan wines.

For those of you not au fait with the world of vegan cheeses, like most vegan ‘fake’ foods they come in an entertaining array of names resembling the items they are based on. There’s Cheezly, Sheese and Parmazano not to mention No-moo and Creamy-smooth. They are mostly made from a mixture of vegetable fats, potato starch, rice flour and natural flavourings such as yeast, nut butters and spices. Some barely resemble the cheese they are attempting to imitate, whilst others nicely fill the fatty-salty-savoury-creamy role a cheese alternative should.

You can buy many locally from shops such as Sunshine Health Food Shop in Stroud, Green Spirit in Market St, Nailsworth and the Natural Grocery Shop in Cheltenham.

We’d brought a selection of cheeses to try, with the idea that we would get to try each one and discover which we liked the taste of. Everyone brought something along to nibble with the cheeses and some vegan drinks. There was a great selection of home-made chutneys, pickles, freshly baked bread, crackers, scones, salads, and even a yummy chocolate cheesecake for pudding.

pickletastic! fabulous home-made chutneys and a selection of pickled vegetables

After comparing the many cheeses on offer, most of us decided the No-Moo cheeses, made by Swiss-based company Vegusto were some of the best. We were especially keen on the “mild aromatic” flavour, which some of us felt most resembled what we can remember cheese tasted like (some of us have been vegan too long to remember such things!)

A selection of Vegusto’s “No-Moo” cheeses, clockwise from top: Walnut, Mild Aromatic, Classic, Piquant

Some of us also like the Blue-style Cheezly made by vegan food company Redwood, as it had a delicious tangy flavour reminiscent of stilton.

As for drinks we had a range of vegan-friendly wines and other drinks. We also enjoyed local bottled beers, made by Stroud Brewery. (Only the botted beers are vegan, the draught beers available in local pubs contain fish swim-bladder clearing agents. Lets hope Stroud Brewery decide it’s worth the extra custom to also make their draught beer suitable for veggies and vegans soon!) As many of you will know finding vegan-friendly booze can be frustratingly difficult due to poor labelling of drinks and secretive brewing industry processes. A comprehensive list of vegan-friendly alcholic drinks is available on the website Barnivore.

Aside from the good taste, perhaps the best thing about both the drinks and the ‘cheeses’  we’ve recommend above is that they are free from the products of animal exploitation.

Recipes from the evening:

You don’t have to buy vegan cheese, it’s easy to make your own such as this Cashew Ricotta

Cashew Ricotta

(based on recipe from the excellent cook-book Veganoimcon by Isa Chandra & Terry Hope Romero)

Ingredients:

Half a cup raw Cashew nuts

Juice of 1 and a half lemon

3 tbsp Olive Oil

A block of firm tofu

1 clove garlic

1 and a half tsp of salt

6 leaves fresh basil or 1 tbsp dried basil

Method:

Blend the cashews, lemon juice and olive oil until a grainy paste forms. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until creamy.
Chill until use. Great in baked dishes, with pasta, or used as a dip.

Caramelised Onion Bread

Ingredients:

1 tsp dried yeast

2 cups warm water

1 tsp salt

4 cups strong white bread flour

For the topping:

2 onions sliced into fine rings, or 8 shallots

3 tbsp Olive oil

Method:

Put 1tsp yeast in a large bowl, and add 2 cups of warm water.

Whisk until the yeast has dissolved.

Add 1 tsp salt and whisk.

Add half of the flour and mix well, then add the following 2 cups of flour.

Cover with a tea-towel and leave in a warm spot for at least 2 hours, until risen and doubled in size.

Then caramelise the onions: Soften in olive oil with a lid on the pan until the onions turn transparent, then remove the lid and up the heat, stirring regularly until the onions are a golden brown.

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C.

Drizzle a little olive oil in a 9inch by 12 inch pan.

Turn the dough out into the pan, and spread it evenly

Drizzle the remaining oil on top of the dough of the and poke lots of holes in the dough with your fingers, then spread the caramelised onions on top

Bake for 25 mins or until risen and golden

(This dough is also great for pizza bases)

Chocolate Cheesecake

Ingredients:

8oz rich tea/digestive biscuits

4oz marg

I pack of silken tofu

8oz dark chocolate

Method:

Melt the marg and crush the biscuits. Mix them together and press down in a round cake tin to make the biscuit base, leave to cool.

Melt the chocolate. Whisk/blend the silken tofu and stir in the melted chocolate, leaving a little to put on the top. Smooth over the biscuit base, put rest of the melted chocolate on top and put in the fridge till you are ready to eat! Enjoy!

Olive Scones

Ingredients:

225g self raising flour

1/4 tsp  baking powder

50g ‘Pure’ or other vegan marg

pinch of salt

1 tsp dried oregano

about 8 olives, chopped

enough plain soya yoghurt to make a soft dough

Method:

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl

Add the marg and rub in until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs

Using a knife, stir in the olives and oregano

Gradually add the soya yoghurt, until you have a softish dough

Bring the dough together with your hands and knead lightly on the work surface.

Roll out on a floured surface to no less than 2cm deep.

Cut out your scones, re-rolling the mixture until you use it up

Bake on a baking tray in a preheated oven (200C/400F/Gas Mark6) for 12 – 15 mins until risen and sounding hollow when you tap one on the bottom!

Either serve straight away or cool on a wire cooling rack.

(If you want to make these in advance and freeze them, then you get a better result if you freeze before cooking, rather than after.)

Favourite Vegan Cookbooks

31 Jul

There are many vegan cookbooks available out there, on all types of cooking and a varied range of cuisines. Here are some recommendations for books with tasty recipes and lovely layout:

Veganomicon – The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook

by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero

Da Capo Press (2007)

This really is the ultimate vegan cookbook. Not only is it humourous – there are witty anecdotes and stories next to each recipe, it’s got a huge breadth of different recipes. It starts small with how to cook vegetables and pulses to perfection. This section could sound unnecessary if you’re not a learner chef, but it is actually really helpful in inspiring new methods to cook your favourite veg, or tasty ways to prepare foods you’ve previously dismissed as not yummy enough! After this initial “how to cook a…” section, Veganomicon then moves onto more complex recipes such as the incredible vegan moussaka topped with a cream cheese made from pine-nuts, yam-ram roll sushi, rosewater & pistachio cookies, and amazing layered sandwiches.

There is a blend of cuisines, and exciting new methods to try. This book really has changed the way I cook, and when I’m not following one of the many excellent recipes from here I often find that I thinking about combinations of ingredients and methods I’ve learnt through following these recipes.

I’ve found these recipes to be very reliable, almost all turning out to be completely delicious. Some of the recipes are quite long-winded, and others are really quick, but the time it takes to make is listed next to each recipe which is really helpful.

Its a US cookbook, so a few of the ingredients are hard to find here, but the recipes are measured in cups rather which I find infinitely easier and quicker than using scales to weigh quantities.

Another Dinner Is Possible – More than Just a Vegan Cookbook

by Isy & Mike

AK Press  (2009)

This cookbook is written by a couple of folks from Anarchist Teapot Mobile Kitchen who make amazing food at demos and protest camps in field kitchens with limited resources. It’s got a great selection of easy to make recipes. Not only that but there are sections on nutrition, vegan cooking for families, animal rights and food politics.

Some of my favourite recipes are: the Potato Provencale – a delicious tomato, potato and olive herby stew, perfect for winter months, the raita is amazing, and the potato stuffed chapattis are great with curry.

There’s a good selection of sweet stuff too, including a raisin scone recipe that would impress anyone’s grandma. There is also a section on Korean cooking, on how to make home-brew, and on home preserving. An eclectic mix of recipes, advice and information.

Hot Damn & Hell Yeah

by Ryan Splint

Microcosm Publishing

A fun southern-style inspired cookbook, featuring illustrations of skeletons in cowboy outfits enjoying vegan food!

The recipes in this small and affordable cookbook are easy to follow and simple to make. Great for spicy & southern vegan cuisine.

I particularly like the cornbread recipe, which goes nicely with a hot chilli.
Also there are some excellent recipes for burritos, gravy with biscuits, tacos and many other tex-mex inspired foods.

Vegan Pie in the Sky

by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero

Da Capo Lifelong ( 2011)

Another super cookbook by some of my favourite vegan cookbook authors. This is one in a series of cookbooks on vegan sweets, following on from the also excellent Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World and Vegan Cookies Invade your Cookie Jar. It has a wide-range of pies, cheesecakes, pastries and flans. I’ve yet to bake them all, but have made the maple and pecan pie, which is a gorgeous, sticky, chewy nutty pie, with featherlight pastry.
The citrusy little lemon pies went down well with guests, who said it was the best pudding they’d ever eaten! The blueberry cheesecake is also divine.

There is masses of information on how to make pastry and different imaginative pie crusts such as olive oil crusts.

Dakshin – Vegetarian Cuisine from South India

 This is the choice of Gloucestershire Vegan Group member, Nam – she writes: “A South Indian Cuisine book – this is not strictly a vegan cookbook as it is lacto-vegetarian, but you can easily substitute any dairy ingredients. South Indian food is less oily than North Indian. One drawback is that is can be hard to find some of the ingredients specialist cooking pots (like an idli steamer) which may have to be bought in Asian stores (such as Motala 95-99  Victoria Street, Gloucester, or the World Food Shop (opposite Sub Room) in Stroud. Idlis can be made in ordinary steamers. Just line the base with muslin cloth.”

Do you have a favourite vegan cookbook? Write a review and it can be added to this post.

Reasons to be Vegan

19 Jan

This is just a few of the many reasons to be vegan, there are many more, please add your own below in the comments section if you feel inspired.

To explain why to be vegan I must first answer the question- what is a vegan? This is the Vegan Society’s definition:

A vegan is someone who tries to live without exploiting animals, for the benefit of animals, people and the planet. Vegans eat a plant-based diet, with nothing coming from animals – no meat, milk, eggs or honey, for example. A vegan lifestyle also avoids leather, wool, silk and other animal products for clothing or any other purpose.

 A short explanation of this is that vegans, neither use or eat products of animal origin.

 

Three reasons to be vegan:

 1. Not wanting bad stuff to happen to fluffy things

One of the principal reasons for a person to adopt veganism is to avoid causing any animal suffering. Meat, leather, dairy and eggs, to name but a few, are products made from animals. Animals endure pain, are abused and killed, merely because people enjoy the products they provide. Vegans find this unacceptable and choose not to support these practices through avoiding the consumption of any product of animal origin. Some vegans term the way animals are treated in our society as “speciesism”-  where animals are treated as a commodity; existing to serve us, clothe us and provide us with food. Vegans are aware that people do not need to use or eat any animal products to live a happy, healthy and fulfilled life – veganism is an alternative to causing suffering.

To find out more about how animals are farmed visit the vegan society’s webpage on animal farming

factory farm run-off

2. Wanting to make less of an impact on our planet

Vegan diets can be better for the environment because they are more energy efficient. Animals consume much more energy than they produce, therefore it’s more efficient for humans to eat plant-based foods directly, than to consume them indirectly – further up the food chain – by eating animals. Because of this increased efficiency, vegan diets have the potential to feed more people on less land than diets that require conventional livestock farming.

Animal farming can also directly harm the environment; fishing destroys ocean ecosystems, and over-grazing of marginal lands can lead to desertification. Another example is factory farming which causes local pollution problems such as slurry run-off contaminating watercourses, as well as global pollution problems: the greenhouse gas methane, a by-product intensively farmed animal waste which contributes to global warming.

To find out more on this topic visit these sites:

www.vegansociety.com/resources/environment.aspx

www.veganoutreach.org/whyvegan/environment.html

3.Wanting to eat better

Although this is not usually the main motivation for people becoming vegan, and vegans enjoy plenty of yummy and indulgent food, a nice perk of a vegan diet is that it can be easier to eat healthily. Many people find that as a result of becoming vegan they eat more home-prepared food, fresh fruit and vegetables and think more carefully about meeting their nutritional needs in their diet.

For more info on vegan nutrition visit:

www.theveganrd.com/food-guide-for-vegans

www.vegansociety.com/lifestyle/nutrition/