In My Kitchen, July 2014

I look forward to Johanna’s ‘In My Kitchen’ posts at Green Gourmet Giraffe.  I often have all these kitchen blog post ideas floating around but they kinda never seem to fit other posts I make (or don’t make, especially lately!). Inspired by Johanna, I thought I could put everything together in an In My Kitchen Post. The In My Kitchen series is hosted by Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.

I very much enjoy stickybeaking in to other kitchens though I’m cringing a little at showing my own, because it’s a bit poxy. We are planning a renovation but no idea when it will actually happen. My house was built in 1930. The previous owners updated the cabinetry and put in a small oven-stove combo, but the food prep area is still original shoebox size and incredibly frustrating to work in. Both Husband and I have cracked our heads on the wooden mantle you see in the photo. To give you an idea of how small the kitchen is, two people can’t stand side by side at the sink.  And I took this photo from the doorway (the kitchen table is behind me). If you stretch your leg out from where I’ve taken the photo, you can almost touch the dishwasher.  You can’t see the contents of a pot on the rear stove burners clearly, unless you stick your head in the alcove.  I did this once, some oil suddenly splattered right near my eye causing me jump up and I banged my head hard. The chimney mortar also falls down so the stove gets covered with gravelly bits, so I always have to cook with lids on.

So, in my kitchen I have “charming original features” that I smack my head on often. I have a set of anodised canisters that hold dishwasher tablets, all kinds of tea bags and the ‘random stuff’ canister for things that don’t seem to fit anywhere else.  I found the old coffee jars in my dad’s garage.  The red striped jars come from both my dad’s garage and op shops (thrift stores).  When I see the striped ones I can’t resist buying them. I don’t get natural light in the kitchen so I’m not that concerned about keeping stuff out on the shelves. I also love my pink whistling kettle you see on the stove.  My grandmother always had a whistling kettle when I was growing up.  I think my tea always tastes better when the water comes from a happy little whistling kettle. I like to pause when turning the flame off, because the kettle does this final little high pitched whistle and it reminds me of looking forward to that sound when I was a child in my grandma’s kitchen. DORK:

1930s kitchen

A little rearranging here, so you can see these sweet little sweet packets my sister in law bought from overseas and a little tea tin:
kitchen mantle

In my kitchen my latest addition is a cast iron frying pan (skillet).  I really do love how you can get crispy tofu without needing to use stacks of oil. The thin mental spatula is from an op shop:

cast iron pan

Thanks to Doctor Who, Arthur wanted to try fish fingers and custard.  I bought these fish fingers by Making Waves from the Cruelty Free Shop.  I never liked fish fingers at any time in my life but I thought these did the trick for a fish fingery vegan alternative. Arthur says he prefers them with tomato sauce than custard.  Somehow, I’m not surprised:

Making Waves fish fingers

Also from the Cruelty Free Shop is this delicious caramel slice. There was no label on the packet so I don’t know who makes it but it was really, really good. This is the last bit left, I ate most of it before remembering to take a photo:

caramel slice from Cruelty Free Shop

In my kitchen is the blue cheese variety of Cheezly vegan cheese.  Although I was never much of a cheese lover before I was vegan, I did enjoy a blue cheese pasta now and then.  This Cheezly has the same sharp stinky cheese kind of taste.  I’ll have to look up some non-pasta recipes so I can figure out how to use it.  I usually cut a tube of Cheezly in to thirds and freeze it:

Cheezly blue cheese

I received a packet of Twinings Chai and vanilla scented teabags as a gift.  I love chai and this Twinings flavour is quite nice:

Twinings Chai tea

In my kitchen is my trusty sandwich press.  When it comes to sandwiches toasted in a grill, I have to get the bumpy grill. No flat plates for me, I have to get the grill marks. Now and then I buy a packet of tortillas then stuff them too much and get impatient so I press the lid down and end up with tortilla guts everywhere:

exploding tortilla

In my kitchen is this jar of cashew butter I bought from Terra Madre in Northcote.  I know I can make my own but sometimes it’s just easier to have someone else do it for me:

 Terra Madre cashew butter

In my mum’s kitchen is this tomato kasundi my sister brought. It was pretty good and although I was just using it as a dip, I think it would be really nice mixed through chickpea and lentil dishes:

tomatokasundi

In my kitchen is (was… I ate it all) this cashew cheese, made following a recipe given to me by Cate from Green Renters.  The recipe calls for miso and apple cider vinegar which I forgot to put in and I had doubled the amount of nutritional (savoury) yeast.  It was fantastic:

vegancashewcheese

I had planned on including a few more food items but realised I’ve already mentioned them on the blog before. And thanks to this post, I’ve realised I really should clean my oven door…

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Eat Your Greens food blogging challenge: Avocado, Kale and Matcha Smoothie

Eat Your Greens challenge logo

This month I have entered the Eat Your Greens challenge set by Shaheen over at A2K- A Seasonal Veg Table.  The challenge requires you to prepare a dish (or beverage, or some kind of food) with green veggies.  All recipes must be vegetarian (vegan recipes are accepted too).

I joined the challenge quite late and it was good timing because my avocado and kale were looking a little sad and I’d also been wondering when I would start using the small tin of matcha I was given.  I’ve been hesitant to use it because, like yacon syrup, a small container is very expensive. So I prefer to sit and look at it.

I haven’t been having smoothies, green or any other colour, much lately because when I get up in the morning I’m so cold and immediately put the kettle on.  I don’t often have smoothies during the day, for me they’re pretty much always a breakfast thing.

Avocado Matcha Banana Protein Smoothie

For the Eat Your Greens challenge, I knew it was time to break out the smoothie love again. I didn’t follow a recipe, I just threw in the following based on smoothie combinations I usually make:

– 1 cup home made almond milk

– 1 banana

– 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (maybe half a scoop if you don’t like too much protein powdery taste)

– 1/4 tsp matcha powder

– a few kale leaves, torn (if using baby spinach, I add a big handful.  With kale, I use much less)

– 1/2 avocado

For me, the sweetness was just right because my banana was spotty. If the banana wasn’t as sweet, I would have added one Medjool date.

 

I’m glad I chose this for the challenge as it made me realise how much I miss my breakfast smoothies!

Vegan Roast Masterclass with Green Renters featuring Tofurky

After attending the Green Renters soy beans and nuts masterclass a fortnight ago, I was very much looking forward to today’s class on vegan roasts.

Cate from Green Renters first took the class through what we would be making.  Desserts were up first as they needed time in the fridge and freezer.  You could hear all the “phwoaaaarrr” sounds because we had tiramisu, a chocolate peppermint torte, lemon pie and ice creams! We broke up in to groups of four and made our way to the kitchen:

vegan master class kitchen

As I’m a big big fan of anything lemon pie, that was the choice for me:

vegan lemon pie

After we made our desserts it was time for morning tea.  Cate had made some lovely donuts and baklava.  I went back for another donut and piece of baklava.  Twice.  Okay, three times (but the last time was kinda sneaky):

vegan donuts

vegan baklava

For the roast part, I teamed up with Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe and L. for a tofurky. I’ve never made a tofurky but I’ve attended a demonstration in the past.  The tofurky involved making a marinade, the turkey part and the stuffing:

vegan master class kitchen

vegan tofurkey

The stuffing is rolled in to a log and placed on the tofu mixture (which has been flattened down on some baking paper):

vegan tofurkey

vegan tofurkey

vegan tofurkey

You then roll it all up, luckily it all held together:

vegan tofurkey

Johanna expertly crafted some drumsticks and then the marinade was pasted on:

vegan tofurkey

…and eventually Tina Turkey was done:

vegan tofurkey

Cate and her assistant Jen took care of arranging a cheese platter and roasting potatoes, pumpkin and carrots:

vegan cheese platter

roast carrots

roast potatoes

The other teams made a nut roast wrapped in cabbage leaves:

vegan nut roast

A seitan roast:

vegan seitan roast

My plate of meganomz. I just realised I didn’t take a photo of our tofurky sliced up, but that’s it in the middle.  There’s also a wellington at the bottom there, I forgot to take a photo of it when it was done so here it is sliced:

vegan roasts

I was so full after that and couldn’t finish my meal but I managed to eat dessert of course. They all turned out great but unfortunately the ice cream didn’t set in time. The green dollop you see is avocado lemon cream. This was delicious. Our lemon pie was great (though quite runny, you can see how the filling has plopped everywhere!) but my equal favourite was the tiramisu:

vegan chocolate peppermint tart

vegan desserts

After all that food I had trouble finishing the rich chocolate tart so it went in to my lunchbox to take home.

The class was great and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Tofurky is really easy to make even with the three different components.  It might be more time consuming but things are easy to make (the time consuming part was sauteeing the onions, mushrooms and celery so you can see it’s not actually difficult).  I liked all the roasts, especially the wellington but my favourite was the tofurky.

I would love to attend more classes but sadly (for Melbourne peeps) Cate is heading off overseas and this was the last class. I was also really pleased that through these classes I met two of my favourite bloggers, Linda and Johanna.

Hours later, I’m still really full but very much looking forward to leftovers tomorrow!

Soy Beans and Nuts Master class with Green Renters

Today I attended a fab master class workshop put on by Cate and Chris of Green Renters. I’ve never made my own tofu, or the numerous cheeses I planned to make when I purchased vegan cheese cookbooks a long time ago.  Same with vegan yoghurt, I always meant to make it (I even bought a yoghurt maker on sale… which isn’t necessary for making vegan yoghurt) but felt a bit too information-overloaded when I’d look up different vegan yoghurt making websites.   So I thought that for my first efforts, I’d prefer to have an expert show me.

We started off with making tofu.  Soy beans were cooked up and then strained/drained but the strained liquid is what you want, not the actual mooshy beany part (which can be used for other things):

tofumaking1

tofumaking2

tofumaking4b

tofumaking3

tofumaking4

tofumaking5

tofumaking6

tofumaking7

tofumaking8

tofumaking9

tofumaking10

Next up was almond milk. Retro blender!!!

retroalmondmilk

Coconut bacon on the stove (I’ve made mine in the oven before), with liquid smoke, tamari and molasses (I’ve used maple syrup in the past but I liked the molasses):

coconutbacon

Vegan butters, oh my:

veganbutter1

veganbutter2

Some vegan butters Cate brought along:

veganbutters

We split up in to small groups and made a variety of different cheeses.  My little group, which included Linda from The Lentil Institution, made a mozarella, which I put in the fridge there and forgot to take home:

veganmozarella

One of the cheeses made by another couple in the class:

vegancheese1

I’ll need to go over the instructions for the yoghurt again but here is some barley and quinoa a-sproutin’:

yoghurt1

Apple cider vinegar added to soy milk to make it curdle:

yoghurt2

 

These vegan yoghurts were used in the process:

yoghurt3

We had to give these a shake and now at home it still hasn’t really appeared to work unfortunately!

yoghurt4

Kitchen hustle-bustle:

tofunutsworkshop1

Cate and Chris provided an awesome feast.  For morning tea there were Portugese custard tarts and a banana cake with a cashew icing.  Yes I asked for a second tart and I was very tempted to ask for more cake but I think I may have wound up on some blogs, in the context of  “I met Veganopoulous and man WHAT a greedy guts”:

morningtea

Anyway, below is a coconut peppery cheese on the left and a basil pesto cheese on the right:

greenrenterscheese

greenrenterslunch1

greenrenterslunch2

greenrenterslunch3

greenrenterslunch4

Some really, really good bread.  Made even better when Cate said she would send me the recipe and it’s no-knead.  I love it more already:

greenrenterslunch5

My plate.  It looks polite and demure but I went back for way more bread and the cheeses (which you see on the bread).  That Veganopoulous, mannn what a greedy guts:

greenrenterslunch6

And then 4pm rolled around a little too quickly. My bus stop was nearby and although it was a pleasant day, my icy hands and ears were not impressed to see I missed the bus by five minutes and I had a forty minute wait for the next one.  Silly Sunday timetables:
waitingforbus

While sitting on the bench at the bus stop, I saw this sign on the footpath.  From a distance, I was saying to myself “why did they spell school as scool? Are they trying to be all totes cool with the lingo? Appeal to the kids with the whacky spelling? And if so, why did they spell school correctly in the bottom triangle?”  So I was sitting there doing armchair psychology on the person who came up with this sign, then when I got up to take the photo I realised the second triangle doesn’t actually refer to the word ‘school’.  That Veganopoulous, man what a whiner:

walkschool

 

Here are today’s efforts now safely at home (minus the mozarella and my Tupperware).  Also missing from the cheese-butter platter photo is a red capsicum cheese one of the other couples made.  Because I dropped it right before taking this photo.  So here it is, cleaned up a bit but still not edible:

droppedcheese

butterandcheese

I’m very glad I went, everything was great and I’m now super confident about going off in to the wild to make my own tofu, cheeses, butter spreads and yoghurt!

walkhome