Jumping on the Pulled-Pork(less) Bandwagon

Pulled pork, I’m sure, didn’t exist in my pre-veg#n days. Growing up in England I never encountered the stuff, so obviously never tasted it. When I moved to Canada it popped up regularly at pot-lucks, alongside the ubiquitous slow-cooker meatballs in barbeque sauce – which I’ve also never had. I never gave the matter much thought until recently. About 6 months ago I started getting posts in my facebook feed about “pulled jackfruit”. It seemed that anyone who was “someone” was riding the pulled jackfruit bandwagon, posting recipes on this latest, greatest vegan food, sometimes as if they had personally invented the dish. I know somebody, somewhere, had the idea first, and I really wish I knew who it was.

Anyway, the bandwagon rolled along merrily for a while in Canada and the States and then slowed down somewhat. I didn’t buy jackfruit, and I didn’t make pulled-anything. Buth this week I’ve started getting posts from people over the pond in the UK about pulled jackfruit, and I thought “If it’s good enough for the Britts I’ll give it a go too.” So, one trip to the international isle of a grocery store later I was ready to cook. I’ve looked at many recipes, from very complicated multi-ingredient ones to “open a jar of BBQ sauce and cook the jackfruit in it” ones, and hummed and haa-ed. I based my attempt on a recipe found at moreveganblog.com, but I tweaked it to make it more husband-friendly. I don’t remember ever eating anything cooked in BBQ sauce, but I do know that my hubby (the fussy eater featured in a previous blog) doesn’t like the taste of it meatballs cooked in it. He doesn’t like anything acidic, or anything which tastes of tomatoes. So I’ve improvised a bit to create something which hopefully resembles BBQ pulled “pork” without being too authentic. Although, as I said, I’ve never had it so I don’t know what it tastes like! Wish me luck!

Husband-Friendly Slow-Cooker Pulled-Jackfruit Bandwagon Recipe

I made this in the slow cooker so that if it didn’t turn out well I hadn’t wasted a lot of time and effort on it! If you prefer, toss it all in a pan and simmer it on the stove for 30 minutes or until tender.

  • 2 20oz cans of jackfruit in brine or water, not in syrup
  • 1/2 meduim onion, cut into thin strips
  • 1 yellow pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp crushed dried red chilies
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 cup vegan stock
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • salt to taste (if needed)
  • 4 fresh bread rolls to serve (mine were made with pumpkin so they’re a bit yellow)

Drain and rinse the jackfruit then cut off the hard central core and remove the seeds. Put everything except the salt and bread rolls into a slow cooker, turn it on and leave it for 4-5 hours on high or 7-8 hours on low. Taste and add a little salt if needed. Take the jackfruit out, pull it apart using two forks and return it to the slow cooker for 5 minutes. Serve on sliced fresh bread rolls and hope that the hubby will like it!

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And the verdict is in. He liked it! It reminded him of BBQ ribs (yuk) and previous encounters he’s had with pulled pork. It wasn’t too acidic for him and he went back for seconds! So that’s it – I’m now officially on the pulled-jackfruit bandwagon! And for my next trick….Chinese-style BBQ jackfruit on steamed rice. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Karen 🙂

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The Vegan Stoner

As mentioned in a blog last week (you’ve read it, of course) I spent my birthday this year sitting in Jamaica with a drink or two in my hand. It was fabulous 🙂 I sampled a whole load of cocktails I’ve never had before, but since they had names like “Bob Marley” or “Shane’s Special” I have little hope of recreating them at home. Admittedly by midweek I was adding the word “virgin” at the beginning of my requests for a drink (that means “without alcohol” for those of you even less well educated on the matter than me), but I certainly had some flavourful good experiences. I might buy my youngest son a cocktail shaker for his birthday (spoiler alert!) so he can make me something exotic when I go to visit him in Toronto….although he’s a poor student so I might have to take my own ingredients with me. Or maybe I should just buy myself one and get him and his friend Crackers to teach me the art of bartending next time he comes back for a visit…

This is a Bob Marley 🙂

bobMarley (Copy)Alcohol wasn’t the only recreational drug available at the resort in Jamaica, but it was the only legal one. Every now and again a herby aroma wafted over the beach or pool deck, which could usually be traced back to a group of 4 older-than-me Americans chilling out nearby. They were very friendly and chatty, and one was extremely sun burnt. I suspect he’d had a puff or two before putting on his suntan cream and then just forgot about it. The source of their herbal products (taken for medicinal purposes perhaps? I bet that sunburn hurt!) was easy to find (and hard to avoid!). The resort beach was fairly short, and at the end of the beach was a wire fence, through which we could see numerous locals miming smoking and waving at us to go check out their wares.

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If you’re now waiting for a tale of how much weed I bought and how much it cost, I’m afraid you’re going to be sorely disappointed. Yes, I was born in the 60’s (OMG!), and yes, I was a vegan hippy type in the 80’s, but I’ve not really done the drug-and-alcohol-thing. I didn’t have my first alcoholic drink until I was in my 20’s, and my doctor has me labelled as a non-drinker even though I do actually have a drink now and again. Being drunk has never appealed to me (I tried it and really didn’t like it), and the whole “doing drugs” thing just isn’t my cup of tea. I tried weed once, fell asleep and woke up 11 hours later, and haven’t touched the stuff since. “So what’s the point of this stoner blog?” I hear you cry. Read on! All will become clear!

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Shortly after I got home I received a lovely birthday gift from someone who shall remain nameless so that I publicly call him a bit of a stoner. And a bit of a vegan. It’s a book (not written by him) called “The Vegan Stoner Cookbook” by Sarah Cornique and Graham I Haynes. It’s small, it’s simple, and it has lots of hand-drawn cartoon pictures of the ingredients for each recipe – and there’s never of lot of ingredients. It’s full of very simple recipes for “beginners and slackers”, and it made me smile. I’m not a stoner, a beginner or a slacker, but I just LOVE cookbooks 🙂 There are some recipes in there which looked interesting, so I decided to knock up a batch of the fresh baked granola bars and see how it worked out. I’ve tried lots of recipes for such things, and not all of them were successful. Some refused to stick together, others flatly refused to get out of the baking pan and others tasty kinda funky. But these stoner-vegan bars looked fairly simple, and the ingredients had enough sticky stuff to make me believe they just might work. So, I got stoned (joke! it’s a joke!), carefully measured everything out and popped it in the oven.

Fresh Baked Granola Bars
(from “The Vegan Stoner Cookbook” by Sarah Cornique and Graham I Haynes)

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (I used crunchy)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (I used 1/4 cup maple syrup and 1/4 cup molasses)
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 3 cups oats (I used 1 minute oats)
  • 1 cup trail mix (I used a mixture of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds and chia seeds)

Melt the peanut butter and maple syrup then mix in the applesauce, oats and trail mix. Press into a greased baking pan (mine is square) and bake at 350’F for 30 minutes or until golden.

And the result? Well…….they stuck together AND they came out of my well-greased pan without complaining. They were tasty and crunchy and chewy….and kinda dry. I’ll be crumbling them up and using them as a topping for fruit crisp later on in the week. I think I made a mistake when I just used seeds instead of a trail mix, which usually contains dried fruit. When I make it again I’ll be tossing in some raisins and finely chopped dried almonds, or maybe a chopped fresh date or two.

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The book is a quirky addition to my rather extensive cookbook collection, and I’ll be knocking up some chocolate peanut butter squares next time I have some chocolate in the house. The mochi sandwiches and monkey bread look like they’ll be quick and easy sweet treats for feeding to visitors. There’s also an egg-free quiche which I suspect maybe the subject of a later blog – but I’ll have to find someone to feed it to first. The last time I tried quiche was over 30 years ago so I have no idea what it’s supposed to taste like!

If you’re looking for a gift for a vegan student (regardless of whether or not they’re a stoner) or someone who wants to be vegan but is a bit timid in the kitchen, check out “The Vegan Stoner”. It might be just what they need.

Karen 🙂

A Totally Corny Blog

April in Ottawa. It sucks. Like, really sucks man! Facebook friends (who won’t be friends for much longer if they don’t stop gloating) are sharing recipes for strawberry shortcake using fruit from their local strawberry festival, and picking fresh mangoes off their backyard trees. They’re posting annoyingly perky comments with pictures of salads and chilled soups. Meanwhile, outside my window, the snow falls in gentle, beautiful flakes, (I’m trying to be positive – work with me!) blowing prettily in the wintery air, making my garden look like a fairy tale wonderland. The leafless trees cast slim shadows on the fallen crystals, creating a magical landscape of light and darkness. I sit here at my desk, gazing out at the wondrous scenery, thinking “Why the heck did we move here of all places? Feck, feck, feck.”

For those of you living in sensible locations, let me explain about winters in Canada. The season is divided up into 7 stages as follows:

1. Shock. This takes place in October when the little trick or treaters wear snow suits over their costumes, or have extra-large costumes which they can wear over their snow suits. Yes, we often have snow as a Halloween treat 😦
2. Pain. Get out those snow shovels, and make appointments with the chiropractor, physiotherapist and massage therapist. And, if you slip on the ice and break something, you might want to take a trip to ER while you’ve got your snow suit on.
3. Anger. The season of good will and peace on earth? I don’t think so – especially when the relatives back in England talk about the lovely walk they had after their Christmas dinner. We don’t usually take an after dinner stroll when it’s -35’c with a windchill. Bah humbug.
4. Denial. Friends pack their bags and fly away to Cuba / Jamaica / Mexico / Anywhere-but-here, pretending winter won’t still be happening when they get back. Meanwhile the hubby goes to work when it’s pitch black outside, and comes home in the dark. We might as well live in a cupboard under the stairs with the lights turned off.
5. Depression. Will it never end? There’s no point in doing anything. Taking a bath starts to look like a viable alternative to driving to the pool at the gym. Ottawa holds “Winterlude” with ice sculptures – as if that makes things better!
6. Acceptance.  Winter. Will. Never. End. Might as well get used to it and go skiing once before the hills close after March break.
7. April. Yes, it’s still feckin’ snowing. And then it rains. And then it snows. And I hate everyone who mentions picking fresh strawberries in their garden.

To combat all the happy posts about fresh fruits and salads, I’m sharing what we had for dinner last night. It’s thick and hot and slightly spicy. It’s the kind of food to eat in April in the land of never-ending-winter. But I know that someday, suddenly, summer will arrive. I’ll just have time to go to a “how to make a herb garden” seminar, take a brief trip to Germany, buy a few herbs, then watch them shrivel and die in the frost a few weeks later. Ottawa. Gotta love it.

Corn and Veggie Chowder

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 celery stick, thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 cups corn (I used frozen)
  • 5 – 6 small potatoes, cut into 1/2″ pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 3 cups vegan stock
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp crushed dried red chilies (or cayenne powder)
  • 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch mixed to a paste with 3 tbsp water
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced, to garnish

Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the celery, carrot, onion and garlic over a medium high heat for 10 minutes or until soft and lightly browned. Add the corn, potatoes, stock, coconut milk, paprika, chilies, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer gently for 15 – 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and boil for 5 minutes, stirring, until thickened slightly. Using a hand blender or a countertop blender process half the chowder until smooth. Leave the other half chunky. Serve topped with green onions.

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It’s just what I needed on a cold, snowy April day. And to those of you who live in sunnier climes…I’m trying not to hate you right now 😉

Karen 🙂

If you would like to follow my blog (and I really hope you will), look for the small “Follow” icon in the bottom right hand corner of your screen. Or in the toolbar at the top. It’s going to be around somewhere! Click on follow, add your email address, and all my pontifications will appear in your email, without you having to put in any effort at all. You can, of course, unsubscribe at any time.

My latest obsession – magic grease!

Pictures and videos of  pigs seem to pop up regularly in my facebook feeds, usually with lots of comments containing the words “cute” and “adorable”. If I share such a thing I always preface it with “Anyone who comments ‘Mmmmm Bacon!’ will be unfriended. I’m not joking.” I find it hard to understand why someone would look at pictures of an intelligent, social creature and then sit down and eat one which has been slaughtered, cut into strips, smoked and fried. Somebody actually said to me recently (I’ve heard other people claim it’s happened to them, but I never thought it would happen to me)  that if god didn’t want us to eat animals he wouldn’t have made them taste so good. I responded that his daughter would taste like pork, but god probably didn’t want me to cook her up and serve her for dinner. That didn’t go down well. I’m usually very tactful, but just occasionally I say what I think.

Last year the veg#n community here in Ontario shared a lot of feeds featuring Esther the Wonder Pig, and I’d like to introduce you to her. She’s a 650lb house trained happy piggy. Her dads were told she was a 6 month old mini-pig when they got her, and were a little surprised to find out that they were actually living with a 6 week old piglet who was going to keep growing and growing. So they built a sanctuary, stopped eating meat, and Esther became famous. Check her out at http://www.estherthewonderpig.com/

But what are you supposed to do if you like the taste of bacon but no longer want to put a dead pig on your plate? I’m pleased to tell you that there are alternatives out there. Are they bacon? No. But are they better for your health and cruelty free? Yes 🙂 Check out your local supermarket and health / natural food stores for bacony vegan alternatives such as  Paradis brand veggie bacon (the best ever!) or Ives veggie bacon strips. You might also find vegan “bacon bits” in packets or jars ready for you to sprinkle on your salads. Coconut bacon (which I personally hate) is available at some natural food stores, and there are various brands of tempeh “bacon” knocking around. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, check the internet for recipes on how to make your own “tofu bacon” strips. But be warned – no matter how much the person posting the recipe insists it “tastes just like the real thing”, it doesn’t. Just ask my omnivorous family members – all the recipes I’ve tried were nice, but there’s no hiding the fact that it tastes like tofu trying to be bacon.

But, to quote Frank-N-Furter in Rocky Horror,  let me show you my favourite obsession. Come up to the lab and see what’s on the slab. I see you shiver with antici……

VEGAN BACON GREASE! Yes, you read that correctly! It’s totally vegan, but it’s like bacon fat. Gross! And yet…… it’s wonderful! It’s made from coconut oil with herbs, spices and magic.

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It’s more of an aroma than a full-on bacon flavour, but I think I’m in love. I bought my first jar from a natural food store in Ottawa last week, and it’s almost empty. I’ve stirred it into a split pea soup, added it to veggie spag bog, fried mushrooms in it (bacon grease, mushrooms, garlic, parsley…OMG!!!!) and drizzled melted magic onto freshly cooked corn. I’m one happy chef!  I’ve stopped short of eating it off the spoon, but I have to admit that I was tempted! Oh who am I kidding? Of course I’ve licked it off a spoon! And – bonus – it’s gluten free so I can feed it to both of my kids when they come for a visit. Not that I’ll have any of this jar left by then – I’ll have to stock up!

magic_grease2If you want a cruelty-free bacon fix check out their website at  http://veganmagic.cc/   to see if it’s arrived in a store near you. Those in the U.S and Canada can also get it from veganessentials.com. It has the true aroma of bacon, without the need to kill any cute, intelligent piggies! Does it get any better than this??

Spinach and Mushroom Salad with (or without) Magic Vegan Bacon Grease

If you don’t have any magic bacon grease use olive oil instead. Obviously it’s not the same, but you’ll still have a tasty mega healthy salad, especially if you add some fried faux bacon strips or sprinkle the salad with vegan bacon bits.

  • 6 cups baby spinach
  • 1 orange, peeled and cut into chunks (grate the rind before peeling the orange – you will need it later!)

Dressing:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tsp grated orange rind

Topping:

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 2 tbsp magic vegan bacon grease OR ¼ cup olive oil

 Serves 4

  1. Toss together the spinach, orange, walnuts and baby spinach.
  2. In a jar with a lid, shake together the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, garlic, orange juice and rind. Pour over the salad and mix well.
  3. Fry the walnut in the magic grease or olive oil until hot and lightly toasted. Don’t burn them – it only takes a minutes or two. Pour the hot oil over your salad and serve immediately.

…pation!

I would love to know what vegan bacon alternatives are available wherever you live. I know the brands will vary, and some countries will have a bigger selection than others, but tell me about your favourite non-piggy treats!

Karen 🙂

If you would like to follow my blog (and I really hope you will), look for the small “Follow” icon in the bottom right hand corner of your screen. Click on follow, add your email address, and all my pontifications will appear in your email, without you having to put in any effort at all. You can, of course, unsubscribe at any time.

Mexican Fiesta!

I recently watched the movie “The Book of Life”, partly because it looked like it might provide some quirky entertainment for an evening, partly because I’d heard it was good, but mostly because one of the head animators is my hubby’s kung fu brother. We’ve since bought a couple of copies for Eric to sign for our movie-loving adult sons. I really had no idea what the movie was about, other than it was set in Mexico and it was animated, so I was very pleasantly surprised by how visually striking it was. I was doubly surprised when the lead female character liberated the village pigs after realizing that they were destined to become food, adopting one as her own companion. My cries of “Woo hoo! Animal Liberation!” turned a couple of heads – don’t worry, we were watching it at home, not in a big movie theatre – but I quickly quietened down when the bull fighting started. I cringed at every cape swing. I scowled at every comment about bull-fighting being the family’s occupation for generations. And then wanted to clap my hands when the lead male character refused to kill the bull, saying it was wrong to do so. He didn’t want to be a bull fighter – he wanted to be a musician instead. Before I give away the whole plot, might I suggest you buy or rent a copy and watch it yourself? It’s s kid’s movie, but if you’re a parent of little ones I’d recommend you watch it yourself first to make sure it’s not too scary. It’s set around the time of Cinco de Mayo – the day of the dead – and was originally released around halloween.

Check out the trailer at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBw5YScs8iQ

There have been a few movies over the years which have made valiant attempts at “getting animals off the table”, one of my favourites being Chicken Run. For those of you who haven’t seen it, the chickens in a free-range prison want to escape before Mrs Tweedy turns them into pies. When my kids were small we had a game based on the movie in which we made our own chicken-shaped pieces out of play doh and moved them around a board. If they landed on certain squares we shot them out of a cannon then squished them with a large pie-crust stamp. I think one of my kids took it to Toronto with him to play with his friends. I loved both the movie and the game, but I’m not sure how effective either was at communicating the message that chickens have feelings too.

Another fun movie is “Free Birds”, which came out in 2013. Some turkeys travel back in time to change history and stop turkeys from being eaten at thanksgiving. Check it out at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1621039/. There were comments from various parenting groups saying they would never take their children to such a movie because it might upset them and they didn’t want a fuss at the thanksgiving table. And it’s kinda sad that the movie ends with them eating cheese-covered pizza, but at least they tried.

Anyway, to get back to my original point – I really enjoyed “The Book of Life”, and not just because it’s vegan-friendly. To get you into the spirit of Mexico and to maybe inspire you to watch the movie, I’m sharing my recipe for mole poblano.

Tofu in Simplified Mole Poblano

Look for cans of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in the tortilla chip / salsa isle of your local grocery store. If it’s not there you’ll have to google a Mexican speciality store.

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 canned chipotle pepper
  • 2 tsp adobo sauce from chipotle pepper can
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp cayenne powder
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 6 cloves, ground
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds, ground
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ ripe banana, mashed
  • 2 cups vegan “chicken flavour” stock
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 800g / 1 ¾ lb thinly sliced firm tofu
  • Soft tortillas for serving

 Serves 4

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onion and garlic. Cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes or until soft and slightly golden.
  2. Add the chipotle, adobo, raisins, tomatoes, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves, fennel, allspice, cumin, black pepper and mashed banana. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
  3. Carefully pour the mixture into a blender and blend until smooth. Add the stock and salt.
  4. Return the mixture to the pan and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cocoa and cook for another 5 minutes. Stir in the sliced tofu and heat through.
  5. Wrap the tofu and some sauce in soft tortillas and drizzle a put extra sauce over the top.

Variations: Use a combination of white, portabella and shiitake mushrooms instead of the tofu. Fry in a little olive oil and drain off the liquid before adding to the sauce. Or use slices of cooked “faux chicken”. They both work well instead of tofu.TOFUINMOLEPOBLANO (Copy)

I can’t claim that this recipe is “authentic” since I’m of British descent and I’ve not traveled to Mexico yet, but I can assure you that I’ve fed it to a Mexican friend and he declared it to be tasty. So pick up a copy of the movie, cook yourself dinner (or better yet, get someone to cook it for you), grab a Mexican beer and have a nice trip to the exotic land of funky animation.

Karen 🙂

If you would like to follow my blog (and I really hope you will), look for the small “Follow” icon in the bottom right hand corner of your screen. Or in the toolbar at the top. It’s going to be around somewhere! Click on follow, add your email address, and all my pontifications will appear in your email, without you having to put in any effort at all. You can, of course, unsubscribe at any time.

The Great Fish Debate!

Last month Alan and I went to a local theater to participate in the recording of “The Debaters” as part of the live studio audience.

For those of you not familiar with it, The Debaters is produced by the CBC and features two comedians debating topics in a humorous way, with the winner decided by the studio audience. http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thedebaters. Steve Patterson is the host. We went to see them last year when they debated deep issues such as “Is William Shatner the best actor of all time?”, with hilarious results. This time the debates included topics such as “Can a man be a feminist” and “Do the children of stars have it made?” and “Is it possible to over share?”. As proved by the person arguing against the argument, yes it is!! But the debate which sticks most in my mind was titled “Can a fish be a pet?”.

As someone who eats a plant-based diet, I’m used to the question “But you still eat fish, right?”, as if people have trouble understanding the concept of what is and what is not an animal. Fish are, in fact, animals. But this was the first time I had ever encountered the question “Can a fish be a pet?”. The comedian allocated the task of supporting this proposal started his argument with (and please forgive me if I mis-quote accidentally): “My best friend spends hours going round and round in circles. He has no short term memory and just eats and poops. These are things my fish would say about me if he could talk.” He went on to compare fishing to drowning puppies in the lake “but it’s OK, because I pull some of them back onto dry land before they die” much to the bewildered horror of the audience. Some people really didn’t find his comments amusing, but I expect it’s too much to hope that they’ll give up torturing fish and calling it a harmless hobby. Someone recently posted on Facebook that little girls are much more attractive when fishing than twerking. My comment that little girls who hurt fish for fun aren’t attractive didn’t go down too well!!

I’ve recently found out that some restaurants in Toronto are serving live animals to their customers, mainly fish, shrimp and octopuses. Should that be octopi? Or is the real plural of octopus actually octopodes? I should have paid more attention in taxonomy classes. While eating still-moving creatures is a common practice in Japan it’s creating a bit of a commotion in Toronto. It goes without saying that I think killing an animal for food is unnecessary in our culture, and that the practices of many slaughter houses are horribly inhumane. But eating an animal while it’s still alive is barbaric, especially when we can chose to do otherwise. Like, here’s a thought, not eating animals at all!

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/food-and-wine/food-trends/diners-face-unique-experience-moral-dilemma-with-live-food/article23265808/

In my childhood days my mom often cooked a simple meal of white fish, mushrooms and onions, made from fish my dad was given when he had work to do down on the docks. One day he came home and gave my mom a fishy plastic bag, which wriggled violently when she placed it on the counter. Mom left the kitchen and didn’t return until dad had “dealt with the issue”. I avoid the whole fish issue by replacing it with vegan “fish alternatives” or tofu, but I often think of my mom when I cook up a vegan version of her fish dinner.

Mom’s Onion and Mushroom Fish-Free Supper

  • 250g sliced mushrooms – about 1 cup
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped – about 2 cups
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • 2 cups (450g – usually 1 block) semi firm tofu, cut into 8 1″ thick squares
  • 1/4 cup flour – I use brown rice flour
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Put the mushrooms, onions, garlic and 1 tsp salt into a large frying pan and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. You don’t really need any oil since the mushrooms release lots of liquid, but add a tiny splash if it makes you happier. When they’re really soft remove them from the pan and keep warm. I put them in a bowl and cover it with a plate. While the mushrooms are cooking, mix the flour with the parsley, 1/4 tsp salt and pepper. Dip the tofu into the flour mixture to coat.

Add the oil to the frying pan and cook the tofu over a medium heat until lightly browned and crisp – about 5 minutes each side. Handle it gently, but don’t worry if it falls apart. Add the mushrooms and onions back to the pan. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes, check the seasoning and serve with rice or oven fries.

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If you want to pep it up a bit, add a teaspoon of garam masala or chinese 5 spice powder (but not both) to the mushrooms when you fry them.

I’ve not asked my mom what she thinks of my fish-free dish, but I know that one particular member of my family would do a considerable amount of eye-rolling. I wonder if I should tell her she looks like a boggle-eyed goldfish when she does it? Probably not….

Karen 🙂

If you would like to follow my blog (and I really hope you will), look for the small “Follow” icon in the bottom right hand corner of your screen. Or in the toolbar at the top. It’s going to be around somewhere! Click on follow, add your email address, and all my pontifications will appear in your email, without you having to put in any effort at all. You can, of course, unsubscribe at any time.

Playing in the Gluten Free Sandbox

I have to preface this blog with something important. Gluten free pastry and I are not friends. Never have been and never will be. It’s like that relative who’s always genuinely welcome in your home because they’re family, but you’re secretly relieved when they leave. My relationship with gluten free pastry is like that. It’s welcome to visit my kitchen when needed, but I dread the day when it might say “I’m moving in – get my bedroom ready”.

As you’ve probably guessed – I’m not a gluten-free gal. Vegan, yes. Allergic to a ludicrous number of things – yes. But gluten free? Nah. Bring on the wheat products – they’re so much cheaper than gluten free ones and it’s much easier to find products which taste good. So why am  I putting myself through the trials and tribulations of playing with gluten free flour, making, of all things, pastry? Pastry doesn’t always play nicely to begin with, but if you take the gluten out you should be prepared for a bit of bad behaviour. I’m doing for the simple reasons that I’m a mother, and a total push-over. One of my sons is intolerant to gluten (and a whole host of other things which rivals my own list – he makes me proud). His journey towards becoming gluten-free is a story for another day, but it involves lots of Drama! Misdiagnosis! Thrills! Danger! Excitement! In Technicolor with Dolby Surround Sound! But I’m not telling his story today.

Last week I made my hubby some vegan pasties. My youngest son reads my blog (hello son 🙂 ) so I felt I should offer to make him some gluten free ones and freeze them to take to Toronto in 3 weeks when we go to visit. Yes, I know that he’s nearly 21 and quite capable of looking after himself, but he’s a busy student and the University of Toronto isn’t a gluten-friendly place when he needs to grab a quick lunch, so a frozen pasty or two might come in useful. Although we’ve just heard that the teaching assistants have gone on strike so he might have time to make his own pasties  if classes are cancelled.

I’ve bought some gluten-free veggie grounds (my usual brand says “may contain traces of wheat, so I can’t use that today) and thawed it overnight in the fridge.

GFgrounds (Copy)

I’ve made gluten-free pastry before, but I did some googling to see what other recipes are out there. I found a rather confusing one requiring iced water and warm melted coconut oil, quite a lot containing eggs, and a stack of recipes with “can’t fail flour blends”. If I stand any chance of getting number 2 son to make his own pasties sometime in the future I have to keep it simple, so I stuck to my own recipe and used Red Mills All Purpose Gluten Free Flour rather than a complex blend. I’ve tried other brands in the past, including the very gritty Robin Hood AP flour (talk about a sand box!!), but Red Mills is my favourite. If you have your own pastry mix, go ahead and use it – and let me know what it is!

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Being a bit of an over-achiever by nature, I decided that if I was going to make pasties to take to Toronto I might as well make it worth my while. So I knocked up some traditional Cornish pasties (minus swede – I’m yet to meet anyone who likes swede), Jamaican patties and Indian curry pockets. And it took forever. I just hope my other son doesn’t read this and request a large batch of wheat-flour ones….although I’ll probably make him some anyway. Ah…..The joys of motherhood.

If you treat your gluten free pastry like a temperamental child, you can’t go far wrong. Make it using cold ingredients, handle it gently, let it have a time-out in the fridge, then let it sit at room temperature for 5 minutes before rolling it out. I don’t like to jump straight into action when I stagger out of bed in the mornings, and the pastry also needs time to metaphorically sit with a cup of tea before starting an activity involving a rolling pin.

If your pastry cracks during rolling, press the crack back together and patch it if needed with scraps of pastry cemented in place with flour glue. Some of your pasties will be perfect, while others will look like they’re back from the hospital covered in bandaids. But they’ll all taste the same, so unless you’re entertaining somebody important, don’t sweat about appearances too much. Like with people – it’s what’s on the inside that matters.

Gluten Free Pastry

To make 6 – 8 pasties you need:

  • 2 cups gluten free flour such as Red Mills
  • 2 tsp xantham gum (unless your flour blend already contains this)
  • 1/2 cup vegan margarine, chilled (or, if you have some, replace 1/4 cup with vegan shortening)
  • 6 – 12 tbsp ice cold water. Not warm water. Ice cold please.
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp soy milk for glazing

Put the flour and salt into a large bowl. Add the margarine and cut it into small pieces. Use your fingertips to rub the margarine into the flour until it forms breadcrumbs. Handle it as little as possible. Add the water a tablespoon at a time and mix with a knife until it starts to form a dough. Don’t make it wet – you want something you can roll out later. Use your hands to form it into a ball then cut it into 6 pieces. Form each piece into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Put in the fridge for 15 – 30 minutes.

Make the filling of your choice.

Take the pastry out of the fridge and roll into circles about 6″ across. I put a large bowl on top and trim them into a nice round shape. Save the pastry off-cuts. Brush flour-glue over the pastry discs then divide the filling between the them, placing it on one half of the circle. You should have some filling left over.

GFpastry1 (Copy)       GFpastry2 (Copy)        GFpastry3 (Copy)

Fold the pastry over the filling to create a half-moon and use a fork to press the edges together to make a secure packet. Cut 2 small slits in the top and brush lightly with soy milk. Form the pastry off-cuts into one or two balls and roll into discs. Process as before, using up the extra filling.

Heat the oven to 350’F / 180’C / Gas 4. Put the pasties on a baking tray and cook for 45 minutes until golden.

Traditional Pasty Filling

To make the filling, mix together the celery, potato, veggie grounds, parsley, thyme, stock cube, salt and pepper. Make sure none of the veggies are in chunks larger than your thumb nail.

  • 1 cup celery, finely chopped or, if you’re a true Britt, 1 cup swede, finely chopped
  • 1 cup potato, finely chopped
  • 225g gluten free veggie grounds,thawed if frozen
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 vegan “beef” stock cube, crumbled (make sure it’s gluten free)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp soy milk

Put this filling directly into the pasty – no pre-cooking needed.

Simple Jamaican Filling

I’ve kept this as simple as possible, knowing that a list of ingredients as long as your arm can be off-putting. I’ve stuck  to ingredients I’m fairly sure number 2 son has in his kitchen. If you have coconut oil, feel free to use it instead of olive oil.

Add 1 tsp of turmeric to the pastry flour to give it a slight yellow colour.

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 225g / 8 oz gluten free veggie grounds,thawed if frozen
  • 2 tsp madras curry powder
  • 6 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Fry the mixture for 5 minutes then allow to cool before putting into the pastry.

Simple Indian Spice Filling

  • 2 tbsp olive or coconut oil
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 jalapeno chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 225g / 8 oz gluten free veggie grounds,thawed if frozen

Fry the mixture for 5 minutes then allow to cool before putting into the pastry.

And here’s the result!

pastyGFVegan (Copy)               pastyPile (Copy)

They’re now wrapped and frozen, eagerly awaiting their trip to the exotic delights of the big T O. There’s a group of us turning up that weekend (2 sets of parents and a brother or two) to help my son and his friend move from the outskirts of Toronto into the city center. If we get peckish from all the hard work we might thaw out some of the pasties and eat them on the job, so it’s probably a good thing that I’ve made plenty!

And for my next trick…..tortiere. Hubby saw participants making this famous Canadian pie on Canada’s Masterchef TV show, and commented on how nice it looked. So I’ve promised him a vegan tortiere with roast potatoes and green beans with garlic for dinner tomorrow. See – I told you I was a push-over! Perhaps I should drop a hint or two about him cooking something for me someday soon……

Karen 🙂

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Natural. Organic. May Contain Beetle Secretions

I love natural products and organic things. At least, I thought I did until recently.

A couple of weeks ago my eldest son came home for reading week and some good home cooking, but it’s always a challenge to feed either of my kids without them loosing weight. I know most people would say “I’d love to have you cook for me AND loose weight at the same time!” but for my boys it’s not quite the same. They’re both tall (and even taller if they don’t slouch) and on the thin side. I’m sure my youngest is actually a 2 dimensional being from a cartoon rather than a 3-D human. It’s always been a battle trying to put any flesh on their bones, and when they come home “healthy junk food” makes an appearance to give them extra calories. I buy vegan chocolate bars, salted potato chips (yes, I’m aware that they’re not healthy in any way, shape or form) and I make cashew nut faux cheese, brownies, cookies and desserts. And, if I can find them, I place a bag of vegan dark chocolate almonds on the coffee table.

At Christmas time I seemed to have very little trouble finding chocolate almonds to munch on…..or, rather, “to give to my children”. But in the middle of February they were hard to track down. Until, one jolly cold snowy day, I found some sitting in the natural food section of my local grocery store. Hurray! The price wasn’t very nice, and my son had already returned to Toronto, but I’d been looking for them for weeks so I thought I’d buy some for myself. I read the ingredients: Dark chocolate (evaporated cane juice, unsweetened chocolate, cocoa butter, soy lecithin) vanilla, dry roasted almonds, pure food glaze. SCORE! And they’re natural and organic! You can only imagine how happy I was as I shared the news with the local Facebook veg#ns, some of whom had also been looking for vegan chocolate almonds.

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Everything was fine until somebody commented “Isn’t pure fruit glaze made from beetles or something?”. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! And….gross! And then I remembered that “organic” and “natural” do not mean “vegan” or even, necessarily, “healthy”. Dog poo is without doubt natural, but I wouldn’t describe it as food. Gas for the car might be organic, but I’m not going to put it in my coffee. I did some research, and it would appear that “pure food glaze” is, indeed, made from beetle secretions in most cases. Here’s what gentleworld.org says about it:

“Laccifer lacca is a small insect about the size and color of an apple seed, which swarms on certain trees in India and Thailand. During the larval stage of its life-cycle, the lac insect creates a hard, waterproof, communal protective shell as a cocoon in which to mature and then mate. The encrusted resin that forms this shell is scraped off the branches where the insects nest.” I emailed Central Roast to ask what their glaze was made from, hoping that they would say “Actually, our glaze is derived from palm”…….but they didn’t get back to me. I’ll give them another week then try again.

My almonds are sitting on my desk, looking at me in a hurt kind of way, but I don’t care. I’m not eating them until I know what the glaze is made out of. Besides, I knocked up a batch of chocolate bark with Japanese seven spice powder and nuts, and it’s delicious.

Seven Spice Chocolate Bark

  • ½ cup pine nuts or coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
  • 1 – 1 ½ tsp Japanese seven spice powder
  • 350g / 12 oz. dark vegan chocolate

Preparation time: 5 minutes. Cooking time: 5 minutes. Chilling time: 30 minutes. Eating time: Gone in an hour!

  1.  Place the pine nuts in a dry frying pan and cook over a medium heat for about 3 minutes or until lightly toasted.
  2. Break the chocolate into small pieces and place in a microwavable bowl. Place into the microwave and melt, pausing to stir the chocolate halfway through. This takes about 1 minute in my microwave.
  3. Stir in the pine nuts and seven spice powder. Spread onto a flat baking sheet lined with a wax paper. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes or until hardened. Break into pieces to serve.

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Every bar of vegan chocolate has bits of ground-up insects in it. The legal limit is no more than 90 or more insect fragments in one 100g subsample, or an average of 60 or more insect fragments per 100 grams when 6 100-gram subsamples are examined, just in case you were wondering. Check out other foods at http://www.fda.gov/food/guidanceregulation/guidancedocumentsregulatoryinformation/sanitationtransportation/ucm056174.htm. But that doesn’t mean I want to eat chocolate nuts coated in beetle mating secretions. So next time I go hunting for chocolate almonds I’ll simply buy some chocolate and buy some almonds, and eat them both at the same time. It’ll save me a lot of time, probably some money, and I’ll know that It’s beetle-secretion free.

Karen 🙂

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The Wizards of Oz

On Monday night the hubby and I headed off to Oz Kafe in Ottawa to support  a chef’s tasting dinner featuring vegan dishes. The restaurant was cozy, arty and comfy, with white tablecloths and small candles on each table. The servers were attentive (perhaps a bit too attentive, in fact) and very nice. We were shown to our table at the rear of the restaurant in the “table for two” section, and it was lovely.The menu was for evening was presented to us, and we were asked if we had any allergies, or if we were vegan. The only non-vegan item on the list was egg, so removing it for us posed no problem. It all looked very interesting. I ordered a nice hot cup of tea to go with it (although, sadly, it wasn’t very hot) and Alan ordered a beer. He loves it when I say I’ll be the designated driver when we go out for dinner. Another couple sat down 2 tables away and were given the menu for the evening. The woman looked at it, turned it over and looked on the back, obviously searching for something extra. She looked at the front again. “Where’s the meat?” she asked the server. “I don’t see any meat on here. But it all comes with meat, doesn’t it?”. The waitress shook her head and looked surprised. “No, it’s a vegetarian tasting dinner, but it can be made vegan if you prefer.” The woman did NOT prefer vegan. She told her partner to get up – they had to leave. “I can’t stay here and eat a dinner with no meat!” she cried. “I didn’t know there was NO MEAT!. We have to go.” And they left. OzMEnu (Copy) I know some people feel uncomfortable when they go out for dinner and have to become “that person”. You know the one I mean. The one who can’t eat this and can’t eat that. The one who draws attention even though they would rather be hiding under the table. They’re usually vegan, vegetarian, allergic to something or intolerant to gluten. Some restaurants are happy to be accommodating – after all, it’s their job to feed customers. Some restaurants are rude and unpleasant, making the  customer feel like they are being a problem. Having watched the meat-lady in action yesterday, I want to encourage everyone who has strayed from the standard diet to hold your head up high when you go out for dinner. She wasn’t ashamed to declare “I love to eat slaughtered animals” in a restaurant full of veg#ns. Why should those of us who have chosen, or have had restrictions forced on us by our bodies, a different diet be made to feel embarrassed about it in public? I know it drives my son mad when he asks for a gluten free menu and is immediately asked “Are you celiac?”. It’s nobody’s business but his own why he can’t eat gluten. My personal beef (play on words here) is with servers who roll their eyes when I ask for something without meat products, egg or dairy. There are so many things I want to say (mostly “Did you just roll your eyes at me??”) but don’t. I admit I get a bit cheesed off (or should that be non-dairy-cheezed off?) when I’m assured that something is vegan, but it turns out to be a gluten free item stuffed with dairy. Sigh. Anyway – back to the land of Oz. The appetizer was a fabulous piece of mushroom on top of shaved sweet potato (?) arranged on a baked gluten-free flat bread. It was crunchy, and it was chewy. It was a good start! Next came the salad which was, to be honest, disappointing. The kimchee didn’t have that “very fermented” taste and smell which makes it…kimchee. The white radish was watery, and everything tasted pretty much the same. It took Alan a surprisingly long time to work out that he was eating bits of cauliflower, and he hates cauliflower with a passion. There were a few slices of Granny Smith apple tucked away amongst the veggies, adding a bit of contrast, but otherwise it was kinda meh.

OzStarter (Copy)     OzSalad (Copy)   OzMain (Copy)

The main course was forbidden rice with soy 3 ways, although technically it was 4 ways. Tofu, fried yuba, cold edamame and miso dressing. Miso is made from soy. It was nicely presented, but neither of us liked the texture of the forbidden rice and left most of it sitting in the dish. It was all covered in the dressing making it taste a bit flat – it felt like there was something missing – as indeed there was. The vegetarian option had a poached egg on top, which probably gave the dish a bit more depth. Dessert arrived next. As mentioned in previous blogs, I’m not a dessert person. So it must mean something when I ate all of the sweet potato pie and declared it to be good. It was sugar free, so maybe that was why I liked it. Perhaps “dessert” people didn’t enjoy it as much? Both Alan and I scraped off the coconut cream, since neither of us particularly like coconut. OzDessert (Copy) Tonight will be another soy dinner, but cooked at home and eaten in front of the TV – Tofu with Bok Choy. I’ll be serving it with steamed short grain rice instead of forbidden rice. And there won’t be any dessert.

Tofu with Bok Choy

Shiitake mushrooms are fabulously earthy and chewy. Soak in warm water for 30 minutes before using.

  • 6 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 4 tbsp sesame oil
  • 800g / 1 ¾ lb firm tofu, cubed
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 baby bok choy, broken into individual stalks
  • 225g / 8 oz / 1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained
  • ¼ cup soya sauce
  • 2 tsp sugar

Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ tsp crushed dried red chilli flakes
  • ¼ cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce (check the ingredients and make sure it’s vegan)
  • 1 tbsp soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar

Serves 4

  1.  To make the sauce, heat the oil in a small pan and add the garlic and chillies. Cook over a medium heat for 2 minutes then stir in the peanut butter, coconut milk, hoisin sauce, soya sauce and brown sugar. Cover and leave over a very low heat while you cook the vegetables.
  2. To make the tofu: Squeeze the water out of the mushrooms, cut into thin slices and pat dry.
  3. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the tofu. Fry over a high heat for 3 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove the tofu and drain on kitchen paper.
  4. Add the onion to the pan and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes or until golden brown, adding more oil if needed. Stir in the water chestnuts, mushrooms, soya sauce and sugar.
  5. Cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the bok choy to the sauce. Cover and cook over a low heat for 5 minutes or until the bok choy is soft. Serve with rice or noodles.

TOFUWITHBOKCHOY (Copy)I’m really happy that Alan and I went to support the vegan event. Chefs should be encouraged to push their boundaries and cook up tasty food for non-meat diners. I enjoyed the experience at Oz Kafe, and I enjoyed the food despite my grumblings. But, to be completely honest, I know I’ll enjoy tonight’s dinner more. But I like going out, and I like trying new things, so if Oz Kafe has another vegan night I’ll go back. But next time I’ll be the one with the beer.

Karen 🙂

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A Taste of the Homeland

Traveling home from our Argentine Tango class on Sunday, I was deep in thought about what we had learnt that week. My mind was assessing the subtle nuances of tango music, the variations in decorations performed by ladies during an ocho block, and  pondering the intricacies of the molinete. Nah – I’m kidding you. I actually had the “everything is awesome” song from the Lego movie playing in a loop in my head. Alan was also very quiet while he drove, obviously deep in thought about something profound. In an attempt to escape from the song in my head I asked him to share his thoughts. Apparantly we had been passed by a van advertising “British Meat Pies and Pasties” and he was thinking about how much he would like a pasty. Gosh, we sure are one deep couple! Any time you’re looking for profound thoughts, we’re the people to contact.

Pies and pasties seem to have been an important part of Alan’s youth. He speaks fondly of Clark’s pies with their thick crusts and strangely coloured gravy. He also has a love of Cornish and Devon pasties. When we went back to the UK for my sister’s fabulous wedding  we got off the plane in Gatwick, took a train to London and bought pasties while we waited for a connection to take us up north. I was very happy to see that they sold cheese-free vegetarian pasties alongside the cheese and onion or meat varieties. I have to admit that the smell of cheese and onion pasties gives me mixed feelings. When I was small my Great Auntie Nellie (lovely woman – one of the nicest people I ever met) cooked cheese and onion pie when my parents took us to visit, followed, always, by jello and a can of evaporated milk. I loved Auntie Nellie, and I enjoyed seeing her, but afterwards I always felt sad and ill. It wasn’t until years later that a connection was made. Cheese and other dairy products disagree with me. The so-called “stress headaches” during my university years were actually cheese-induced migraines (that explains the red spots before my eyes!!) and the upset tummies were not psychosomatic – I couldn’t tolerate milk! Now when I smell cheese and onion my heart is warmed by memories of Auntie Nellie while my stomach churns at the thought of eating dairy products.

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Whenever we visit my mom we go into the lovely historic town of Chester to wander around the shops, usually stopping in a coffee shop mid morning then grabbing a pasty for lunch. They’re so easy to eat while wandering around the streets, looking in shop windows and exclaiming “HOW much?!” in our hybrid English-Canadian accents. Somehow they don’t seem to have made it across the pond to the land of beaver tails, poutine and tortiere (you’ll have to look those up if you’re not Canadian). So, the next day I took pity on my poor husband and made some pasties for him. I used wholewheat flour for a healthy, hearty crust, and veggie mince instead of the ground-up animal of his childhood.

Vegan Cornish Pasty

Pastry:

  • 2 cups wholewheat flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1 tbsp flour mixed with 2 tbsp water to make the glue
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup vegan margarine, well chilled
  • 6 – 12 tbsp ice water, as needed

Filling:

  • 1 cup celery, finely chopped or, if you’re a true Britt, 1 cup swede, finely chopped
  • 1 cup potato, finely chopped
  • 225g veggie grounds / mince, thawed if frozen
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 vegan “beef” stock cube, crumbled
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp soy milk

To make the pastry: Put the flour and salt into a large bowl. Add the margarine and cut it into small pieces. Use your fingertips to rub the margarine into the flour until it forms breadcrumbs. Handle it as little as possible. Add the water a tablespoon at a time and mix with a knife until it starts to form a dough. Don’t make it wet – you want something you can roll out later. Use your hands to form it into a ball then cut it into 6 pieces. Form each piece into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Put in the fridge for 15 – 30 minutes.

To make the filling, mix together the celery, potato, veggie grounds, parsley, thyme, stock cube, salt and pepper. Make sure none of the veggies are in chunks larger than your thumb nail.

Take the pastry out of the fridge and roll into circles about 6″ across. I put a large bowl on top and trim them into a nice round shape. Divide the filling between the 6 circles of pastry, placing it on one half of the circle. Use your finger to apply the flour-glue to the edges then fold the pastry over the filling to create a half-moon. Press the edges together then fold them up to make a secure packet. Cut 2 small slits in the top and brush lightly with soy milk.

Heat the oven to 425’F / 220’C / Gas 7. Put the pasties on a baking tray and cook for 45 minutes until golden. Eat hot or cold, sitting down or wandering around.

cornishPasty (Copy)And what was Alan’s  reaction to the labors of his wife? “Wow! These are really good! Are they actually vegan?”. I rolled my eyes. I love him too much to fill his body with saturated fat. He thought they were so good that he ate one before we went out to a restaurant for a vegan dinner on Monday, “just in case he didn’t like the food”. And I had one when we got back home afterwards.

Karen 🙂

If you would like to follow my blog (and I really hope you will), look for the small “Follow” icon in the bottom right hand corner of your screen. Click on follow, add your email address, and all my pontifications will appear in your email, without you having to put in any effort at all. You can, of course, unsubscribe at any time.