Friday, May 30, 2008
To keep warm, we've been eating lots of stews and bakes. And as I mentioned in my last post, the market produce is prolific, so I think we've been eating petty well.
This is roasted beetroot and radishes, seasoned simply with olive oil, salt and pepper. On the side we had roasted plain and orange sweet potato, which were tossed with cornflour and rosemary and thyme before baking. And we had a pile of sauteed greens--radish greens, rocket, and spinach, plus the leftover salad from Andy's birthday fiesta.
There's nothing like a hot meal on a cold morning. This is the Sleepy Sunday Scramble from La Dolce Vegan. We added spinach at the end, and Andy's trick to make tofu scrambles creamy is a splash of soy milk. I highly recommend this recipe.More from La Dolce Vegan. Aloo mattar potatoes and peas, plus Eggplant Bharta. To the bharta we added broccoli and carrot as well. Both very good, especially with a bit of tofu sour cream mixed through. And of course, topped with some of the ridiculous amount of coriander we got from the market.
Mexican food is always welcome in our house. Over the summer we eat burritoes, but in winter we have Mexican-style casseroles. This is a sweet potato, black bean and corn casserole with cornbread topping. The topping is Wolffie's 'Buttermilk' Cornbread from La Dolce Vegan, but I cut the recipe in half and added a few tablespoons of coriander pesto. We had enough batter for a few yummy corn muffins, too. And on top is a heavily coriander-ed guacamole.
Hope you're all nice and warm, wherever you are in the globe!
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
A pomelo, which I tried in Thailand but Andy has never had. I can't wait to open this gigantic citrus up.
From the same people (a very friendly old couple who always say hello to us), we got some mandarins. They're dirty on the outside, but so sweet and juicy.
Here's a bad photo of some baby beetroots.
Red and gold sweet potatoes, bananas, and eggplant.
A massive bunch of coriander. For $2 we got 9 or 10 plants with masses of leaves. And it is fresh. This is what the markets are all about.
I turned about 1/3 of the coriander into pesto straightaway, since we couldn't possibly use it all when it was fresh. And we got two feijoas, which neither of us has ever tried before. We think they're ripe today, so I'll be eating some exotic fruit when I get home from uni!
We also got a bunch of radishes including their greens (which are edible), and some other things I can't remember right now. I can't wait for the next few months of great, fresh and local produce!!
Monday, May 26, 2008
To fit with the fiesta theme, this was the food we had.
Salsa bean dip. This was meant to be a layered dip, but the salsa and the sour cream layers mixed together, so we just mixed them up with the beans and topped with sour cream and some fiesta-ish corn, coriander and capsicum. We had this with corn chips, and everyone said it must have MSG in it because it was so addictive. Then they heard it was vegan, and it had tofu (sour cream) in it, and they were a bit surprised—but luckily it was so addictive that they kept eating.
Andy’s favourite coriander-lime potato salad. Instead of the usual cucumber we added a yellow capsicum and some spring onions. This was another suspected MSG-dish. After everyone had finished eating, they kept sticking their forks into the bowl to steal more potatoes.
Andy and I had black bean burgers. This is basically Chickpea Cutlets but with black beans, some chilli-capsicum spread, polenta and Mexican seasoning.
For dessert... Mexican Chocolate Cake, of course! I looked around for a few recipes, but I settled on this one because I was intrigued by the use of balsamic vinegar instead of plain. Instead of using cayenne powder, I soaked a whole cayenne chilli which had been cut open in the water for the cake, so it infused some spice without being too much. However, it didn’t work well enough and the cake was more cinnamon-y than spicy. So for the topping, I made a simple ganache—1/4 cup of soy milk, a tablespoon of sugar, some cinnamon and the tiniest dash of cayenne. Bring that to the boil and then I stirred in a block of Green & Black’s 70% cocoa bar. The ganache was nice and thick, so it basically set on top of the cake but was still really easy to cut and bite through.
The cake was another winner. Everyone said first of all how good it looked, and then, after we cut into it, how tasty it was. After packing everything up, one of Andy's friends asked, 'So that cake was completely vegan?' I never understand why people are surprised when vegan food tastes good.
Happy Birthday, Andy!
Friday, May 23, 2008
Definition: busy: extremely busy
e.g. "Sorry, mate, I can't help you - I'm flat chat."
Two weeks left in the semester; a stack of essays to mark; looming paper deadlines; grant applications; interviews; community meetings; animal rights townsville; planning a birthday party; planning rallies and meetings with government; weekly seminars; dinner invitations; Andy's home (!); friends visiting from overseas...
And so I leave you with a week's worth of food in one post.
First up, brussels sprouts. Andy's first experience with them, to be exact. I mostly followed the recipe from La Dolce Vegan which came highly recommended, and for good reason. These were damn good.
Indian-ish feast. Roasted cauliflower with four-seed sauce (based on three-seed sauce from VwaV but we had all the wrong seeds)--nigella, fenugreek, coriander and aniseed. Spicy Indian Rice (minus the toasted almonds) from Vegan with a Vengeance. And plain and sweet potatoes tossed with mixed spice and flour and roasted in the oven.
Cold weather lately has been calling for stew. Hence Andy's creation--it started as an amalgamation of three recipes from La Dolce Vegan and turned into something completely unique. It had red lentils, brown lentils, yellow split peas, potato, sweet potato, leftover roast cauliflower, cumin, caraway, nutmeg, tomato soup, veggie stock, and shallots. And perhaps more. Served on leftover spicy rice and alongside some sauteed Wombok.
Cold weather also makes napping on the couch a welcome activity. If only we all had the time!
Pesto scrolls. I woke up early last Saturday to bake these, so that I could bring them to the Animal Rights Townsville meeting. Unfortunately, my morning didn't go as planned, I didn't get to come home before the ART meeting, and I had to eat these all myself. What a shame. Puff pastry, broccoli pesto, and minced olives = perfection!
Another thing I made for the ART meeting but couldn't bring. Red Lentil Dip, based on the recipe from La Dolce Vegan, but with lots of changes. It had massaman curry paste, cinnamon, peanut butter, cumin, onions and garlic, red lentils, and tofu. Yummy, especially with vegan rice crackers.
For Andy's welcome-home, I made the 'Tease Cake' from Ultimate Uncheese. The bulk of this cake is made not from tofu or soy cream cheese, but from millet. It was surprisingly good. Instead of lemon I used orange, with a ginger cookie crust, and a topping of Maya Gold Ganache.
Andy wasn't hungry for dessert after travelling all afternoon, so I left it in the fridge... and when I came home from uni the next day this is what I found:
Another welcome home meal filled with things Andy didn't get much of on the island--spinach, sauteed with garlic, sesame and carrot; mushrooms baked with garlic and olive oil; and cumin lime baked tofu & broccoli.
And finally, I'll leave you with an update on the kangaroo culling in Canberra that I mentioned a few weeks ago. The government had originally agreed to relocate, rather than murder. Recently, they changed their mind and said they were going to massacre the kangaroo population. Unfortunately for them, animal rights activists and Aboriginal traditional owners are not going to take this lying down. Eight people were arrested after climbing the fence, starting a ceremonial fire and reclaiming their land. Read about it here.
Coming soon: Andy's birthday. We're having a fiesta!!
Monday, May 19, 2008
As I said before, I recently got Making a Killing: The Political Economy of Animal Rights by Bob Torres (published in 2007 by AK Press). Before I tell you what you think, I need to provide a little disclaimer. Bob was my undergrad advisor and my honours supervisor. His influence (and a few mutual friends) enticed me to vegetarianism and then veganism. He taught me marxism, and really helped me to articulate my thinking on capitalism, politics, animal rights, racism, sexism, and other issues. For that reason, the arguments in the book are basically in line with my thinking, so I really loved it. But I’ll try to avoid sounding like a groupie (even though I think it’s, like, so totally cool that I got a mention in the acknowledgements!). Sorry for the wordiness, I tried to keep it short but I have trouble with that!!
In Making a Killing, Bob is basically making the argument that one can’t be truly opposed to hierarchy and domination while still participating in animal exploitation. He uses marxist critiques of capitalism, and anarchist critiques of hierarchy as the base of his argument. Of course, he has to extend these traditionally human-centric arguments to apply to animals—not much of a stretch, really. It’s important to note that he doesn’t isolate his discussion of speciesism. Rather, it’s tightly woven with a discussion of racism, sexism, and classism. For instance,
“Much like racism, speciesism is built into the very logic of our society: from our assumptions about animals as ‘stupid’ or ‘tasty’ creatures, up to the laws that guarantee animals as our property” (p. 71-2).
This is noteworthy because the forms of exploitation have developed together and can only be successfully tackled together.
Bob also looks critically at the “Animal Rights Industry”, aka the main groups that claim to fight for animal rights. I found this chapter particularly interesting for a few reasons. One, because I’m a student of social movements, and that stuff is really my cup of tea. Two, because he spoke in depth on a few issues that I’ve always waffled about without articulating where I really stand. Third, many of these same issues are things that have been the focus of discussion in the Animal Rights group that is forming in Townsville (and probably mark the development of any AR group)—particularly issues of welfare vs rights, abolition of exploitative uses of animals, and whether its worth watering down the message to win people over:
“Sending the message that exploiting more nicely is acceptable only serves to maintain human dominance over animals, for it does not directly call into question the foundational notion of the use of animals. ... This is everything like an anti-slavery organization suggesting that owning slaves is acceptable, provided they’re treated well” (p. 93).
Since I’ve been in some educational institution basically without a break since I was four (two, if you count Head Start), I’m not really a good judge of whether something is accessible to non-academics or not. But, I found the theories well-explained, such that I could understand even those I was unfamiliar with. Reading Bob’s explanations of tricky concepts transported me back to classrooms where he used similar illustrations to get his point across to a room full of mostly disinterested future-corporate-slaves (or, in many cases, execs).
There were a few places where I would have expanded on certain arguments, particularly in the chapter on the movements. That said, I never felt like there were glaring holes where I was left wondering what he was on about. The flow of the book made sense to me. One thing I would change is the references. I freaking hate end notes! I know everyone has their own preference, but I definitely prefer footnotes or in-text citations.
On the subject of references, I thought the book was well-researched. It was good to see primary sources referenced, like United Egg Producers and the USDA. It seems like some animal rights literature tends to cite only other AR lit. Using information provided by the animal exploitation industries gives a sense of legitimacy that sceptics can’t argue with (though we know they still will).
Basically, I thought it was great. It’s different from most books on veganism that I’ve come across because it doesn’t focus on health or environmental arguments, nor merely compassionate reasons; it takes a broader look at the socio-political implications of consuming animal products and builds a firm ethical base for veganism that supports the compassionate argument. And, in my opinion, that foundation is stronger than the other arguments, particularly in the face of opposition or heckling from sceptics.
“In challenging this bloodbath, done in the name of our palates, veganism says that animals have interests and lives quite apart from human concerns, and it respects that by avoiding all animal products to the greatest extent possible—this includes dairy, leather, eggs, and wool. ... This perspective is the only one that makes sense if one takes the challenge to overcome needless domination, hierarchy, and oppression seriously—particularly given how acutely animals suffer to produce the everyday goods and foods that we take for granted” (p. 131).
Friday, May 16, 2008
I know I’m not really living single or anything, merely spending a month by myself. But, it has been good because I’ve never ever lived alone. I went from home to the uni dorms at 17, then back home for six months after I finished uni, and then I moved straight in with Andy when I moved to
Here are a few of the things I’ve loved about living alone:+sleeping in the middle of the bed.
+being the sole object of Nacho’s affection.
+cutting recipes in half and still having enough for lunch the next day.
+less weekly groceries (less expensive and not so much to carry home).
+watching the same movie repeatedly (Andy gets bored, and we don’t always have the same taste in movies. Looking for Alibrandi and Amelie were on repeat this month, usually it’s The Royal Tenenbaums or The Life Aquatic).
+getting work done in the evenings.
+eating whatever I want, whenever I want, with no worries about pleasing someone else. Like all this food…
Turmeric rice, sweet potato mashed with brown sugar and coconut cream, and ‘Black Eyed Peas Dhal’ from Alternative Vegan (p. 126), with added coconut cream. The dhal was really great, and tasted smoky, deep and different. I would make this for guests.
Borlotti bean patties, based on ‘Chickpea Cutlets’ from Veganomicon (recipe here) but made with Italian-tasting things (like basil, oregano, and balsamic vinegar), served with ‘Spiced Potatoes’ from La Dolce Vegan (p. 191).
Quick dinners usually lead to no leftovers for lunch the next day, so on those days I had to get creative. This lunch was a Granny Smith apple (a variety which originated in
Mini-crustless chickpea flour quiches, based on SusanV’s tofu quiche recipe. I was working on the logic of the great-ness of Kumudha’s Indian Vegan Omelette, but what works on the stovetop isn’t quite as great in baked form. These were a bit heavy, but still pretty good.
Soba noodles tossed with hoisin sauce, served with ‘Sautéed Cabbage with Mustard Seed’ from the Pythagoras chapter of Famous Vegetarians & their favourite recipes (p. 8). The cabbage turned out surprisingly sweet and delicious.
Even with all the good things about living alone, I think it’s obvious that I’m really looking forward to having Andy come back!
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Now, continuing on with breakfast foods Andy doesn’t love...
Scones. I read Vaala’s post about banana pecan scones and remembered my love of the pastry that reminds Andy of Grandma. I flicked through a few of my cookbooks and decided on ‘Ginger-spiced scones with cashews and dates’ from Vegan Planet.
To make things easier, I mixed the dry ingredients the night before, and also chopped the cashews and dates. Then in the morning all I had to do was heat up the oven, cut in some buttah and mix in some soy milk and egg replacer. I found the mix really dry and crumbly, but I was nervous to overmix because I didn’t want tough scones. So I just kind of patted it all together and baked them. They were really good fresh out of the oven—beautifully soft and chewy and perfect with a cuppa. But they were still good when I came home in the afternoon, and they hadn’t gone hard like I expected when they cooled. Also, I cut the recipe in half and still had enough for a few people.
On the other side of the spectrum from sweet pastry, I made up a fried veggie brekky one morning. I fried up some potato and carrot, and then added a little block of frozen spinach. At the end I stirred through a spoonful of chilli-capsicum deli spread. With it, I had a homemade bagel spread with vegemite.
And of course, a cuppa tea. We have a habit of buying tea when its on special or reduced to clear, to the effect of a kitchen drawer absolutely chock full of herbal teas. Four or five types of green tea, white tea, peppermint tea, rooibos tea, chamomile tea, mint and ginger tea, Echinacea tea, lemon tea, lemon ginger tea, lemon black tea, black currant tea.... The list goes on. These two photos feature
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Monday started quite stressful, and even involved some tears, but all my stress was literally wiped away by a gorgeous (and free!) massage. A friend of mine is a registered masseuse and she had a free hour so I started with a foot spa, then a scalp massage, a back, arm and leg massage, and then ended with a foot massage. It was fantastic and relaxing, and if massages weren't so expensive I think I would have one every day! It left me feeling so peaceful.
Then last night I went to a human rights group meeting and there were only four of us. My masseuse friend said "Can we go somewhere a bit warmer, maybe someplace with soup?" I didn't want to end up at some crappy restaurant with no vegan food so I very quickly offered up my house. I quickly threw together some veggie soup (literally a tin of diced tomatoes, a tin of chickpeas, two potatoes, a carrot and a capsicum, with some veggie stock and thyme) and we ate soup and wrote up a few documents to bring into an upcoming meeting with our state politicians. Everyone ooh-ed and ahh-ed over how quick it was to cook healthy, vegan food that was tasty. There's nothing like sharing a meal with friends!
But I was in a rush and thinking about politicians, so forgot to get a photo! So I'll leave you with a different take on pizza from a week ago, a combination of two recipes from Ultimate Uncheese. The base is the 'Quick Chickpea Flour Pizza', which is really more of a very thin pancake than a pizza. The recipe indicates that it be served plain, as far as I can tell, but I was bored with that idea so I topped it with 'Broccoli Pesto' and olives which was very, very good. The pesto recipe makes a ton, too, so I've got some in the freezer for future uses. This pizza was completely different from my normal idea of pizza, but it was good.
Monday, May 12, 2008
So, after that trip down memory lane, I decided I would try my hand at crêpes again (I’ve had a few failures in the past). Following UV’s recipe and helpful instructions, I made a few crêpes for breakfast. For variety, I folded them in every way I could think of—in half, in quarters, rolled like a burrito, and scrolled up.
The crêpes themselves were, well, crêpes. They weren’t tasty, but they worked. I think part of my success was that I made them small. Plus, that way I could eat four of them without being too hedonistic. But with the fillings, they transformed from boring sheets of pastry into a sophisticated and tasty brekky.
After breakfast I pedalled up to the post office to pick up a package. I was pretty certain that it was a few books I ordered, and I was right.
I’ve been wanting to read Making a Killing by Bob Torres since before it came out (I nearly got to proof read it, but deadlines got in the way of that). When I order books from the
The first thing I did when I opened up my parcel was to flip through the cookbook. This is my first Sarah Kramer book, and I look forward to making lots of things from this book! What are your favourite recipes?
After thumbing through the recipes, I poured myself a glass of wine and curled up on the couch with Making a Killing. I’ll write a proper review soon, since I’m only halfway through. But my preliminary impression is that everyone must read this book! So if you’re reading this and you don’t yet have a copy, get thee to AK Press and order one!
Since my household is just one for another week, I had crêpe batter leftover from breakfast. So for dinner, I had savoury crêpes. For the filling, I sautéed some broccoli stems, capsicum and frozen spinach and mixed in some leftover Punk Rock Chickpea Gravy from Vegan with a Vengeance. I’ve noticed a few veg bloggers have gotten this book recently, and I really can’t recommend this recipe highly enough. I could eat this gravy by the bowlful, it’s that good. Anyways. The crêpes were filled with that mix and then topped with a bit of tofu sour cream. Nothing spectacular, but a good way to use leftover batter. And I found that crêpes are easier to make if you pour the batter from a jug.
I wanted to use it while it was fresh, and I’ve heard a lot of hype about greens in smoothies. I wanted something a bit more substantial, though, so I mixed a banana, the leaf, some oats and soy milk. Then I flavoured it with a bit of brown sugar and cinnamon. For something to chew on, I garnished with desiccated coconut and walnuts. I couldn’t taste the chard at all, and this was such a yummy breakfast!
A few hours at uni, then an afternoon of cleaning up and reading, and I had worked up an appetite for dinner.
Now, for La Dolce Vegan. I’ve been meaning to make cornbread while Andy’s gone, since he doesn’t like the texture. I noticed “Wolffie’s ‘Buttermilk’ Corn Bread” so quickly whipped that up and stuck it in the oven. It took a bit longer to cook through than the recipe indicated, but other than that, this corn bread was really great. It got a bit crunchy on the outside, and it was a nice mix of sweet and savoury. Really good with guacamole.
I also made the “Bountiful Beans & Brown Rice” with a few minor changes. Also really good, but a bit basic. This was something that I would have thrown together without a recipe. Nonetheless, it was quite tasty!
Ah, the weekend. Even the busiest weekend is still better than a Monday morning. Hope you all enjoyed yourselves!
Sunday, May 11, 2008
This is a bowl of gnocchi with sautéed green beans, capsicum, and tomato. There was also a bit of fresh basil mixed through, and a squeeze of lemon juice added just before serving. (Lemons and limes are on special at the moment, so they’re showing up a lot.)
What’s your favourite way to have noodles?
Friday, May 09, 2008
I wanted to celebrate that mini-victory, and nothing says ‘celebration’ to me more than Mexican food. But, since I was home alone, I didn’t want to bother with wrapping things in tortillas.
I started to make the “Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burrito” filling from Hot Damn and Hell Yeah, but I wanted to incorporate some sauciness into the mixture so I didn’t have to make salsa. As I was cooking, it morphed into a deep and sexy molé sauced concoction. It’s probably not very authentic, but it was good! The combination of chocolate and chilli is a great one, and it adds a whole lotta depth to savoury dishes. The best part—only one pan to wash up.
½ a big sweet potato, chopped
1 plain potato, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 hot red chilli, minced
½ t. cinnamon
1 T. cocoa powder
1 c. tinned diced tomato (fresh would be good too)
2 or 3 squares organic, fair trade dark chocolate (I think I used Maya Gold)
2 c. cooked and drained red kidney beans
Boil the potatoes until they are potato-salad tender (i.e. not dissolving into mush). Drain and set aside. Rinse out the saucepan. Sauté the onions in a bit of water till they’re soft. Stir in the chilli and garlic and let that cook for a minute. Then mix in the spices and tomatoes. Stir it all up, add the chocolate and the beans, and let it sit over low heat for 5 or 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve in tortillas if you want, or just in a bowl with corn chips. Top with lots of vegan sour cream and guacamole.
Oh! While I’m thinking of it, Liz2 of Kamutflake Girl tagged me to give six words that describe me. In no particular order, I offer you: committed, nerd, scorpio, anticapitalist, sensitive, introvert.
P.S. Check out this article about the monetary worth of stay-at-home mums!
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
After coming home late from a full-on meeting last night where we discussed these clashes for a long time, I wanted some quick and easy comfort food.
I had some apples and pears that needed using, so I got to make a recipe sent to me by the wonderful Vaala of the new-ish Twilight and Shadow blog. This apple-pear crumble was really, really good. The addition of nuts (I used sunflower seeds) to the oat-y topping mixed up the flavour and texture in a really good way. I only made a small pan, since it’s just me at home, but I really could have eaten much more of this. Thanks for the recipe, Vaala!
I felt bad having just apple crumble for dinner. So, since I had the oven on, I threw in some chips. When they were done I topped them with some leftover ‘All American Cheez Sauce’ from Ultimate Uncheese. So yummy.
The cheez sauce had some carrot in it. That makes the dinner a little healthy, right?
P.S. As per Vaala’s suggestion to me, I had half the crumble for brekky the next morning. Yum!