So the title covers the range of topics I'm going to discuss in this long overdue post. Hello to the one squirrel wot is still hanging out to see if I ever post here again!! Love your work!!
Anyhoo, the last few months have been crazed. I was tutoring Term 4 at the Sydney Community College, working full time and writing and testing recipes for my very own cookbook, all at the same time. Add in some personal life dramas, and thus no posting for far too long.
But it's all settling down now. I'm almost done with the recipe testing (got about 5 recipes to go), and have discovered some great dishes while I was doing it (I'm so ridiculously proud of two: Tiramisu [one of my taste testers actually referred to the creamy custard mixture as mascarpone, which was pretty awesome] and Caramel Bavarois [I remember making bavarois when I was doing my apprenticeship, and loving it, and it's great to veganise a whipped cream and gelatine dessert...]).
I'm all set to kick off another round of classes for Term 1 of 2008, starting on February 9 (the day after I hand in the draft of my cookbook, eeek!) These are going to be organised differently, going for 5 hours over 4 weeks rather than 2.5 hours over 8 weeks. The advantage is that we can do stuff like seitan and cheezcake in the longer classes. The disadvantage is that I have to create completely new class plans. Eh. Potayto, Potarto.
A side effect of the recipe creation and cookery classes is that my desire to get creative for myself when making lunch or dinner is pretty much nil, and for the first time in a very long time I've found myself cooking almost completely out of cookbooks. And it's been great.
This week I decided to completely organise my foods out of cookbooks, and this is what I've made thus far:
Baked Seitan Roast from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Being Vegan by Beverly Lynn Bennet. It's pretty awesome, and makes a ridiculous amount of seitan. I like that it's halfway between the traditional method of boiling seitan and the easier method of baking seitan. Recommended. I'm going to try out some different flavours, too.
A couple of bread recipes from Vegan Planet. I was proud of myself for making yeasted bread for the first time, but not that happy with the look of the results. Tasty and chewy, though, so the loaves didn't go to waste.
A take on Not!Tuna Salad from Vegan Planet. Made with chickpeas rather than tuna or tempeh, I really liked this. Being me, I added heaps of herbs and pickled cucumbers and spices and heaps more soy mayonnaise than the recipe called for - all good! Served with salad greens, vegies and garlic croutons made from the Vegan Planet bread.
VwaV's Cold Udon Noodles with Peanut Sauce and Seitan. Made this with rice noodles, and upped the spice value of the peanut sauce. Loved it.
V-con's Pumpkin Saag - I made it with a mixture of pumpkin and sweet potato, and with frozen rather than fresh spinach, and it was made of awesome. Served with millet that I'd stir fried with onions, turmeric and peas. Nummy.
V-con's Baked Pumpkin Ziti with Sage Breadcrumb Topping. This was easy to make, and nice tasting, but did not knock my socks off, sadly. I tend to go for flavours that are really strong and sucker punch me, and the mildness of this dish really didn't do it for me. I like that it's got a lovely balance of flavour, but I'm really unsure what I could add to this dish to help it suit my palate and not completely screw up that balance. Requires further contemplation.
I've still got plans to make a whole bunch o' burgers from Dreena Burton's Everyday Vegan; the Chipotle BBQ Sauce from the Candle Cafe cookbook; Caesar Salad, Chickpea Cutlets (previously attempted, but got a big FAIL 'cos I didn't use all chickpeas, I used a bean mix) and Mexican Millet from V-con; and more bread. It's going to be a fun weekend o' cookery!!
The only thing that I've been making that's not from a cookbook is my take on Chimichangas, otherwise known as deepfried burritos. I don't deepfry them, I panfry them, but it just gives a great crispy feel to the burritos and changes the experience completely!!
I've done a couple of versions, both with my smoky bean mixture. One version contained the beans and BBQ Not!Pork that I'd cooked in orange juice and Braggs, and the other contained the beans and a mixture of different types of olives. I top them with a salsa of tomatoes and pickled chilli and guacamole. Lots of fun and ridiculously easy to make.
My desire to take photos of my food is back up and running, so hopefully I should have some good food porn to provide soon.
Have fun and cook something new today!!