Tubby Tryptych

I’m beginning to see why I’m getting a little thick round the middle at the moment.
 
kiki's birthday pie
 
lemon tofu cheesecake with raspberry sauce
 
gluten free vicky sponge slice
 
And that’s just in the last 10 days! ..lol.. 🙂

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Shortbread

Don’t want to blow my own trumpet, but this is a damn fine recipe! Honestly, I’m having to restrain myself from scarfing down the whole batch right now, they’re that good! I wish you could all come round and have some to see what I’m talking about. Guess you’ll just have to settle for giving it a go yourself. Take my advice, do. You won’t regret it.

vegan shortbread

165g (6oz) plain flour
85g (3oz) ground almonds
165g (6oz) margarine
85g (3oz) unrefined cane sugar (plus extra for sprinkling)

Preheat oven to 180C (350F).

Mix the margarine and flour together in a large bowl by hand, until the mixture becomes like the consistency of breadcrumbs (kind of).

Add the sugar and combine softly until just mixed. Don’t over-work the dough.

Roll into a sheet about 5mm thick, then using an upturned tumbler cut out as many cookies as you can (approx. 15), repeating the rolling and cutting until all the dough is used up. NB: I did two roll-outs then made one big uber-cookie with what was left over.

With a piece of parchment paper on a baking tray (greasing the tray lightly will probably work fine is you don’t have any parchment paper available) bake in a pre-heated oven for about 15-20 minutes, until the edges of the outermost cookies start to go a little brown.

shortbread, straight out the oven

Remove from heat and leave to cool, sprinkling the tops of the cookies with sugar straight out the oven. Allow to cool completely before demolishing. 😉

Don’t mind admitting, I’m pretty damn pleased with this little creation of mine. These are some damn fine biscuits, soon to be one of six recipes I’ll be turning into a pack of recipe postcards that I’ll be making available to buy.

I have plans for four different sets – cakes & cookies, pastries, winter warmers and summer snacks – some of which I have most of the recipes for, one of which I have almost no recipes for (yet), but all of which will be hand packaged, numbered, and well worth your hard earned cash. Stay tuned for further developments.

An all round update

Ok, so where is everything at the moment?

First off, I’ve decided not to do the food blog idea (for the moment). I mean I’m hardly keeping this one up to date, so if I started another one that’d just be two blogs I’m not doing. But I am still cooking and I am still posting recipes, so it’s not like I’ve moved away from the cooking idea completely. I’m just putting it on hold until I can give it my full attention.

ohmmm...

What I have been doing though, which is a bit unexpected, is meditating every day for over a week now. Ok, so ‘every day’ is a bit of an exaggeration (as is ‘meditating’ probably ;)), but I have managed to sit for eight out of the last nine days, which is still a win as far as I’m concerned. If I can keep this up I’ll be enlightened by the end of the year, lol.

The day I missed was all down to work. I’ve been meditating in the morning you see, after doing my yoga (I am still doing the yoga every day since I started, which is a good few months now!), but that day I had to get up at 5:30 to go to work, so there wasn’t time, and I just plain forgot to do it in the evening when I got home. Of course this only goes to underline the fact that I need a new job. Plus I’ve been reading Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness, by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, which quite simply states that if you believe your job is interfering with your spiritual development then you probably need a change in career. So that’s my main priority for the moment, finding something else to do for cash. I know what I’d like to do, which is write, but I’m also looking at other possibilities too.

That being said the writing is going well. I’m on the second round of rewrites on the script I finished before Christmas. Once that’s done I’ll give it to a friend to proof read, then I can go back to the book I started working on recently. I’ve also got a few other script ideas I’m playing with, so hopefully come the summer I’ll be ready to start chasing down agents and production deals. And no holding back this time. I’m not going to get bogged down with the ‘reality’ of what’s possible. I’m aiming for Hollywood, and ain’t nobody gonna stop me!

Vegan MoFo : Tofu Cheesecake pt 2

Just a quickie for Vegan MoFo (the Vegan Month of Food). This is a slice of a double quantity cheesecake I made from the recipe I did the other week.

cheesecake pt 2

It was, quite simply, doubly delicious, and all for the same amount of effort! I had to cook it for 40-45 mins rather than the original 30, but as for everything else just do twice the amounts and you’ll end up with what you see above. Good stuff.

Garlicky Green Salad

Ok, confession time, I totally nicked this from the coffee shop on the high road. They sell it as a cold salad in a tub, but it tastes just as good warm with Shepherd’s Pie (as pictured).

garlicky green salad

1 courgette, sliced
1 head of broccoli, decapitated
1 cup sugar snap peas
1 tbsp olive oil
3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed
salt and pepper
2 tsp sesame seeds

On a medium heat fry the courgette and garlic in a large frying pan until the courgette has softened. Be very careful not to burn garlic. Stir often and turn heat down if necessary. Take your time with this. There’s no rush.

Steam the broccoli and sugar snap peas. Do the broccoli for 4 minutes, then toss in the peas and cook for a further 4 mins. Alternatively you could boil these veggies if you don’t have a steamer, but you’ll lose some of the nutritional value.

Toss the drained, just cooked, veggies into the frying pan and mix with courgette (to coat with galricky oil).

Put in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with sesame seeds. Toss lightly then either serve or allow to cool for a tasty snack.

Serves 3-4.

Coconut and Oatmeal Cookies

It’s taken me a little while to get these right. It was difficult to find the right consistency for the dough. But I think I’ve got it working now.

Makes 18.

125g vegan margarine (at room temperature)
125g unrefined cane sugar
egg replacer to equal 1 egg
150g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
50g porridge oats
50g desiccated coconut

cookie dough

Preheat oven to 190C. In a large bowl cream the margarine and sugar until well combined.

Sift the flour into a separate bowl. Add the egg replacer, bicarbonate of soda, salt, oats and coconut.

Add dry ingredients to creamed marg and sugar and mix together to form a lightly sticky dough. I did it by hand as it’s easier and a lot more fun.

flattening out

Line two shallow baking trays with greaseproof paper. Form the dough into golf ball sized lumps and spread out evenly on tray. Use the lightly floured base of a glass to press cookies half way flat. NB: They will spread when baking so give them plenty of room.

cooked cookies

Bake for 12-15 minutes depending on oven reliability. Just look now and then to see if the edges have gone brown. I recommend swapping the trays over after 8 minutes, assuming they won’t both go on the top shelf, so that they all cook evenly.

coconut and oatmeal cookies

Remove from oven and let them cool a little on tray before transferring them to a cooling rack (as they will still be quite pliable straight out of the oven). Enjoy them with a nice cup of tea. 🙂