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!

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Autumn food and decorating

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Ah, felted wool.  I know nothing about crafts this-and-that and think people who sew those stuffed fabric owl door stoppers are geniuses.  I never knew of this felted wool stuff. Actually, I knew about felting but in my case it was more of an accident with woolens in the washing machine.  I just didn’t know there was a name for it. Or that people do it on purpose.

Savers had a half price sale on clothing a while back, so I picked up a few old pure wool jumpers (sweaters) to make some felted wool.  The jumpers weren’t in great condition and were quite cheap. I followed advice from a few felt-your-wool websites.  Step 1 was to put the wool garments in an old pillow case along with an old towel (for agitation), then tie up the pillowcase and throw it in to a hot wash with your regular washing.   The pillowcase is to stop the wool fibre bits from getting on your other washing and clogging up your machine:

feltingpillowcase1

My Step 1 disaster: my old pillowcase was certainly old.  Old enough for the jumper to dig a hole and escape:

feltingpillowcase2

My second Step 1 disaster: NOBODY SAID YOUR OTHER WASHING WOULD STINK OF WET DOG.  ‘They’ said the pillowcase could go in the wash with your other items. I had to wash that load all over again, then hang it outside overnight to get the smell out.

I put the pillowcase, with the big hole secured, in to the dryer on the hottest setting.  I didn’t let it dry completely, instead I took it out and spread the jumpers out to finish drying flat.  I read on one site that this helps you get a flatter finish.  I have no idea.  They did shrink considerably.

Other sites said that if you can still see the stitching being a bit stretchy, you should run it through the washing machine and dryer again.  So I did it a second time but this time with a better pillowcase, and I added a bit of washing powder (some sites use the powder in the pillowcase, others don’t):

wooljumpers

Okay, that’s the prep work out the way.  Wool garments with smaller stitching are apparently better than the sorts of jumpers I bought.

I decided to make some stuffed hearts from the felted wool.  I love autumn so the hearts seemed fitting! I used tapestry thread to stitch around the edges:

woolstuffedheart

I recently bought some fabric squares from Spotlight that were something like three for the price of two.  I went straight for the autumn colours:

autumnfabric

With this autumn fabric I made smaller stuffed hearts, this time with a sewing machine, right sides together then turned out and stuffed– the wool hearts were a bit too thick for this.  Because I am such a hack with this stuff, I didn’t realise that when I stitched up the holes, the shape of the heart top would change to look like a chunk had been cut off.  I sewed a ribbon loop on to the wool hearts and added a button (taken from one of the woolen garments) at the front for extra cuteness. I sewed the heart buttons on the fabric hearts before realising I’d forgotten to attach the ribbon loop.  So I just got some tapestry thread and threaded the fabric hearts on to it.  If you don’t get too close, it looks fine:

autumnhearts

I also made some tealight candle holders.  I had three old glasses and decided to glue twigs around them.  This involved gathering lots of twigs, cutting them to size with pruning shears and hot gluing them all around. ZOMG you guys, hot glue guns are the BOMB.  Seriously, it’s like the less daggy version of the Bedazzler. Anyway, due to my extreme impatience and superhuman ability to get bored really fast, I stopped at one twig-covered glass and decorated the other two glasses differently with, shall we say, the goal of not spending more than five minutes on them:

candleholders

Back to more felted wool.  I bought a bunch of 2cm and 1cm felted wool balls on eBay.  I had a collection of acorn caps from our local park, though finding the teeny caps (on the ground of course!) was a little challenging.  I had to roll the larger sized wool balls hard to make them oval shaped and make a better fit for the caps.  The little 1cm felt balls were a great size for the small acorn caps. Then I grabbed some fallen branches from our garden, unholstered my hot glue gun and went to town:

feltacorns

acorntree1

I stuck the branches in a jug.  Leave a comment if you know where this jug comes from, they seem to be everywhere:

acorntree2

I picked some vines off our tree, tied them in a wreath shape and hung them on the front door then promptly took a photo.  Except now, days later, they’re all limp and embarrassed looking:

doorwreath

I looked up how to decorate with leaves but not have them go all dry and stuff.  I marvelled at web pages where people dipped leaves in wax then used them to decorate.  Genius!  I bought a soy wax that I thought gave off the impression that it would dry clear with no milkiness (I didn’t want beeswax). I melted the soy wax in an old pan over simmering water, dipped some grapevine leaves in the wax and let them dry on a sheet of baking paper.  I was most annoyed to see they dried with white blobs of wax everywhere.  Oh well, live and learn.  Hopefully people won’t see the white bits unless they’re right up close…

waxedleaves1

waxedleaves2

 

Autumn is also a time for those cold weather comfort foods.  I made the Pumpkin Pie Bites from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen. The filling was great and I’d use it as a pie filling, but the base got way overcooked (the filling was not cooking in synch with the base so I had to leave it in the oven) and was very dry as a result. I wouldn’t blame the recipe, because the substitute gluten free flour I used was buckwheat (with more liquid added).  Perhaps I didn’t add enough liquid because it was still dry over the next couple of days.  I’d make this again though:

pumpkinpiebites

I made these tasty Sweet Potato Mini Chocolate Chip Muffins from Ricki Heller‘s fab book Naturally Sweet & Gluten Free:

minichocsweetpotatomuffins

I cook up a big batch of pumpkin and add it to Arthur’s smoothies along with spinach, broccoli and banana.  He won’t eat veggies so I stick them in his smoothies.  I also leave enough to add to my own meals.  Here I used some pumpkin in place of noodles with a lemongrass-garlic-ginger-chilli tofu dish I made:

lemongrasstofu

I really love the idea of decorating my home according to the seasons.  I drool over North American blogs, where people decorate for autumn with all those gorgeous colours.  The problem is I have zero skill or patience for it. But I WANT IT.  I even want all that white Christmas stuff in winter.  I tell myself who says Christmas has to be in stinky-hot December?

Okay, I’m off to look up more autumny recipes.  I can’t think of anything my family would eat apart from sweet stuff like pumpkin pie.  I’m loving the look of these sweet potato and kale balls. They might do the trick!

 

… aaaaaand I just noticed that in the photo below, I forgot to hang up one of the wool hearts.  Not only that, but the whole thing fell down right after I took the photo.  And you can see the milky-dried wax from a distance.  And I should consider using a tripod.

autumnmantlepiece

Another veganny goodness lunch

My parents came over again today to help with some work going on at our house.  Which of course means I cook some vegan delights!  I decided on a very light dessert, seeing as we had a double layer chocolate fudge cake two days ago.

todayslunch1

First up was Spinach and Tofu Ricotta Cannelloni, posted by Caeli over at Little Vegan Bear.  I made the sauce and filling last night to make things easier today.  I haven’t had cannelloni in years so I was very happy with this tasty vegan version!  The filling contains tofu, mushrooms, walnut and spinach (plus other flavours) and was very easy to make.  The stuffing-the-tubes bit was the most time consuming part but really, it was only ten minutes.  Put the radio on, rock out to a few Poison songs, deny you did that, and you’re done.  Hey did you know that Rikki Rockett, the drummer from Poison (AS IF YOU DIDN’T KNOW) is vegan?  Anyway, I topped my cannelloni with grated frozen Cheezley:

tofuspinachcannelloni

My second dish was the Creamy Potato and Leek Casserole posted over at James&Matt. I had a leek in the fridge for about, oooh, as long as you can have a leek before it starts sporting mould.  I screwed it up a bit though.  I used less potatoes and used a smaller baking dish but I think I misread the liquid ingredient amounts and didn’t compensate properly.  Although the casserole on top was all nice and thick, the potatoes were swimming in a sea of watery liquid. My silken tofu was also really watery which probably didn’t help. Next time I will adjust properly, because this dish was delicious and I’d like to make it again  😀

leekpotatocasserole

I also made a simple salad with mixed salad greens, tomato, toasted walnuts and the Effortless Anytime Balsamic Vinaigrette from The Oh She Glows Cookbook.

todayslunch2

For dessert, I wanted something as light and refreshing as possible so I opted for fruit with some kind of fancy pants element.  I chose the Winter Citrus Salad from The Oh She Glows Cookbook.  Fresh mint leaves and (raw in my case) sugar are whizzed up and sprinkled over sliced oranges and grapefruit.  I added strawberries.  I’ve never made mint sugar before, it’s so incredibly tasty for something so incredibly simple:

wintercitrussalad

I gave some cannelloni and potato leek casserole to my sister and brother in law.  They said they tried to leave some for tomorrow’s dinner but caved in and ate it all tonight instead.  So there you go, thumbs up all ’round from my family!

Hair vegan.

Hair vegan.

Vegan Goodness for a Family Lunch

My parents came over today to help us out with some work on the house and my sister had the day off work and came over to help too.  Despite them saying I shouldn’t worry about cooking, I decided to put on a bit of a last minute light lunch.  Why last minute?  Because my sister and I had originally planned to go to Smith & Daughters for lunch, as I’d seen the opening time listed somewhere as midday but when I went to confirm later, Smith & Daughters were only open for dinner.  Which, as you can imagine was a mega disappointment.  I’ve been hanging out to go and that was to be the big adventure today. SOB CRY WAIL.

My mum and dad also offered to come over pretty much last minute, when I’d just realised Smith & Daughters was not going to happen.  I hadn’t done the shopping and there was no chance of going out to get stuff.  Fortunately, I’d made a big pot of the Soul Soothing African Peanut Stew from The Oh She Glows Cookbook the day before and served that up. Husband went out and picked up some zaatar breads from Zaatar in Coburg. For another side dish, I made some roast cauliflower.  I usually sprinkle nutritional yeast on it but I’ve run out (and I’m finding it hard to survive without it) so I just used a little garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.  I would have sprinkled on some almond meal, but I over processed almonds the other day and they went past the almond meal stage and in to the halfway-to-butter stage…

veganlunch4
I’d also previously frozen a dip I made from toasted walnuts, roasted red capsicum and garlic.  I love this dip.  Soooo simple to make, I just toast some walnuts, roast a heap of red capsicum (bell peppers) then peel off the blackened skins and whiz it all up in the blender with some garlic and olive oil.

I decided to make some hummus too, to have another dip on offer.  I don’t follow a recipe, I just throw a can of chickpeas in the blender along with some tahini, lemon juice, cumin and salt.  I leave the olive oil for serving, along with a sprinkle of paprika:

veganlunch2

I also made a simple salad with mixed lettuce, tomato and some leftover red quinoa I’d cooked a few days ago.  The salad was dressed with the Effortless Anytime Balsamic Vinaigrette from The Oh She Glows Cookbook.  I forgot to sprinkle my toasted walnuts on top.  That’s how I roll!  Like sitting down to eat, finishing our meals then realising I forgot to fill the water jug for everyone.

For dessert I wanted to make a cake.  Arthur and DeeW have been asking me to bake a chocolate cake for ages, so I made the Double Layer Chocolate Fudge Cake from The Oh She Glows Cookbook, along with the suggested chocolate buttercream icing.  This was a last minute bake the night before as I really didn’t want to be baking on the day.  Everyone enjoyed the cake and it looked great on the cake plate, though I made a bit of a mess with the icing on the cake plate.  It’s amazing how children think a double layer cake on a platter is super special:

veganlunch3

For more info on the Oh She Glows recipes mentioned here, stay tuned as I am writing up another recipe review post!

I really enjoy cooking vegan food for my parents and as mum is observing Lent and eating mostly vegan (otherwise vegetarian, she gives up meat/fish for Lent), this is where I showcase some simple but very tasty dishes that are easy for her to prepare at home.  When I went vegan and mum was asking me what kind of stuff I’d be cooking, I laughed and said “you know all those meals you make during Lent but that you also make when it’s not Lent?  Like your lentil soup, and green beans-potatoes-carrot dish and your fasolatha (bean soup)? Those!” And she was all “oh!  Fair enough!”  It’s great though as my mum now makes her regular foods vegan for me but she and my dad also enjoy it. She’s not sceptical when it comes to a vegan diet because a lot of what she eats is vegan anyway, without ever having deliberately made it vegan, if you know what I mean!  So for her there has been no problem eating a vegan diet– she was eating this way a lot, long before she ever heard the word vegan.  That’s true of just about everyone I’ve spoken to.  Too often, people seem to think vegan food is all ‘rabbit food’ plus tofu and nothing could be further from the truth!

Random eat-y bits and pieces

Back on the air after some internet silliness!  Like… going over your monthly usage quota and being punished by the speed of your connection slowing to snail’s pace.  Whoops.

I haven’t been keeping much of a record of what I’ve been eating.  Lots of smoothies and juices which kinda seem too boring to put on the blog. Here are some of the more less-boring ones.  A beet-berry-banana smoothie.  I don’t like the taste of beetroot in smoothies but this was okay.  The perfect thing to drink on… Prince’s birthday perhaps:

beet berry smoothie

This one had fig, banana, greens, flax and other stuff I don’t remember now:

fig banana smoothie

One of the nicer green juices:

green fruit veg juice

a maple walnut banana smoothie.  I used maple extract:

maple walnut smoothie

I made the Lentil Taco Meat recipe from Isa Does It (using chipotle powder instead) though I added a can of black beans to the mix.  Then I decided to use up the cooked red quinoa I’d discovered in the freezer so I threw that in too, along with some mushrooms.  I served it up in a bowl with baby spinach, lettuce, tomato, avocado all squirted with a little lime juice.  This is one of my favourite bowls:

lentil taco meat bowl

Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe posted a great nut roast recipe that uses buckwheat, one of my favourite ingredients to use.  Johanna’s recipe is also up on Ricki Heller’s awesome site. My attempt could have been a disaster because when I was simmering the buckwheat groats, I forgot about them.  The simmer time was 10-12 minutes.  I remembered them an hour later.  They were pretty mooshy by that time but not very burnt on the bottom of the pot which was a surprise and a relief!  Blurry photos, argh:

tomato nut roast2

tomato nut roast1

I made this fab chocolate chip cookie wedges recipe by Joann from Woman in Real Life.  In true Veganopoulos style, after I started the recipe I realised I didn’t have the full amount of sugar so I had to use less but it turned out great regardless.  This was a belated Valentine’s Day treat for the family:

oatchocchipcookiewedge

Chocolate chip biscuits:

choc chip biscuits

We had dinner at Loving Hut in Northcote again.  Southern fried ‘chicken’ and the homemade curry equals yumz:

Loving Hut Northcote

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aaaaaand Husband and I went to Loving Hut in Richmond.  I got my usual, which is the veg curry with tofu puffs.  Husband got the spring rolls:

Loving Hut spring rolls

Loving Hut curry

I over roasted some canned chickpeas with nooch for Arthur:

chickypops

Possibly my favourite kale dish is this cheezy chickpeas and kale dish from Fannetastic Food.  I added in some leftover roasted sweet potato:

cheezy chickpeas and kale

Husband and I received these lovely cherry truffles with the added bonus of it appearing quite vegan:

cherry chocs

Now, how many of you know how to fold a fitted sheet nicely?  I’ve been watching YouTube clips on how to do it but nope, mine turn out all horrible and I end up totally frustrated.  None of those pretty smooth corners for me.

Last weekend we went to the Moonee Valley Festival.  I did a quick run past the food stalls and there didn’t appear to be anything vegan.  If there were, I wouldn’t have waited as the queues were too long:

festival7

festival2

festival4

festival5

DeeW made a seed ball and planted it at home:

festival6

I lost $10 on this…

festival8

There were lots of lost balloons in the air:


festival1

I was glad to be home again.  I like visiting these community festivals but after a while I need to get out of there:
festival3
I found this sight quite amusing:

paintingtransporter

Excellent news is that tomorrow is the last day of summer!  Summer is my least favourite season so I’m not exactly sorry to see it go.  I have some plans for autumn and this year I hope I’ll stick to them!

talltree