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

Friends and Tea Parties

This past weekend, Arthur and DeeW had some friends visit. The boys had fun on their computers playing Minecraft and the girls hung out in DeeW’s bedroom. I asked Arthur and DeeW what snacks they wanted to serve their guests.  Arthur requested garlic bread.  Both DeeW and Arthur begged for fairy bread and some two-minute noodles for Arthur’s friend (that’s all his friend eats when he comes here).  I had been browsing vegan websites for packaged stuff I could buy to serve as I really didn’t want to be spending a lot of time in the kitchen.  I was very happy to learn that the Ho Mai yum cha entertainment packs were a) vegan and b) on sale from $13.80 down to $7. Just throw it all in the oven then serve out the moneybags, spring rolls and curry puffs. Phone photos:

lunchtable

I made the Maple Banana Bread from Dreena Burton’s Everyday Vegan (with spelt flour instead of kamut as kamut can be a little strong for some people).  I decided to use fancy little muffins/cake tins that have been in the pantry but never used.  I’m a sucker for cake and muffin tins in novelty or fancy shapes.

I also made chocolate cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.  I made these mini size.  Half were frosted with peppermint icing, the other half with crushed Oreos in the frosting for a cookies ‘n’ cream version.  I didn’t like them all that much but the guests did!

I finally pulled out the three-tier cake stand thingy that mum gave me a while ago.  She won it as a door prize somewhere and gave it to me. I’m glad I hung on to it!  Vegan fairy bread on the bottom.  One of our visitors made the choc chip biscuits on top:

cakestand

I really like setting a table for children.  If I had more time, the table layout would have been a bit more over the top (ha!).  I love how they think a tiered cake stand is rooolly special. Next time I’ll get Arthur and DeeW to think up a theme for the table and we can make place cards and stuff like that.  Who says you need a birthday to have a partying table!  I’d love to fancy up my kitchen table every day, but that would mean de-cluttering the table every day.  Glancing over at the kitchen table now, it is covered with stuff: vase of flowers, DeeW’s rainbow Bandaloom thing and all the rubber bands, cups and mugs, a fruit bowl, fruit not in the bowl, DeeW’s Easter egg hunt basket, two board games, tea towels, containers without lids, a deck of cards, a money box, library books and DVDs.  I suppose that’s my cue to hit ‘publish’ now and go clean…

Recipes from Dreena Burton’s Let Them Eat Vegan! and Eat, Drink & Be Vegan!

Dreena Burton’s cookbooks rate highly among my favourites.  Dreena’s recipes are easy and delicious and I’m determined to use them more than ever.  See, I have an over abundance of vegan cookbooks because I have a slight vegan cookbook addiction problem.  This means that whenever I get a new book, the older ones get ignored. Not so with Dreena’s books, I still leaf through them regularly.

This past fortnight I made batches of muffins to freeze.  Arthur in particular is ALWAYS sniffing around the kitchen for snacks and often makes himself a peanut butter sandwich, which is what I want to move him away from.  So I decided to make a bunch of muffins for the freezer and defrost some overnight so there’s always a muffin kind of snack for him every few days.

First up were the BF Blueberry Muffins from Let Them Eat Vegan! (LTEV) where the BF stands for blueberry-free.  These can be made with or without the blueberries (just add blueberries to some of the batter). They turned out great, perfect for freezing and for keeping the “I’m hungreeeeeee” monster kiddies at bay:

bfblueberrymuffins

Next up, also from Let Them Eat Vegan! were the Coconut Banana Muffins.  These also turned out fab.  I made them in a mini size because my muffin cups had been used for the blueberry muffins, which I cooked immediately before:

coconutbananamuffins

Of course, even though the intention was to freeze the muffins, a few got eaten just to make sure they were okay…

Every now and then I like to make something a bit more fancy for breakfast.  This week I made the Banana Pecan Rice Pudding Pie from (ED&BV).  This is made with pre-cooked brown rice and I had a batch in the freezer.  Other main ingredients include banana, coconut milk, brown rice syrup.  There’s a topping involving pecans but I chose not to make it. I also used a little less rice syrup.  I had the exact 2/3 cup of coconut milk that the recipe calls for but it was a carton of a coconut-rice milk.  I was all out of plant milk after that, otherwise I would have put a little more because I don’t think there was enough.  Still, it tasted pretty good and the bananas provided enough sweetness.  Next time I’ll make it without the rice syrup but with more banana and see how we go.  DeeW didn’t want any as she likes her rice plain. Preferably from Loving Hut. Surprisingly though, my rice-hating son ate it and said it was good:

bananabrownricepudding

I FINALLY made the Festive Chickpea Tart from LTEV.  I can see why this is often considered a favourite among Dreena fans. I chose to make it without the crust.  I thought about leaving out the cranberries, as I don’t go for sweetness in savoury recipes but I guess the cranberries add the festive touch so I put them in. I brushed the top with the oil-tamari mix but chose not to put walnuts on top as there were enough in the tart.  This is so simple to make, the hardest part is chopping the onions (I left out the celery) and cooking them first.  Everything goes in the food processor and you press it in to the pie base/dish. This is now one of my favourite savoury tarts, along with the rosemary gravy (which had thickened heaps the next day, as you can probably tell):

festivechickpeatart1

festivechickpeatart2

Next up is the Cashew Chive Spread from LTEV.  I halved this recipe as I am watching my fats and I knew I’d be the only one eating this.  I halved the cashews but forgot to halve the amount of fresh dill and lemon juice.  Not to worry, because I love the taste of lemon juice and dill! I had it on some Turkish bread with maple-balsamic tempeh, all squished in my sandwich press.  The sandwich looks terrible but tasted good:

cashewchivespread

Here’s the Moroccan Black Bean and Sweet Potato Stew from LTEV.  Initially I wasn’t going to make the topping, which is dried figs drizzled with a little EVOO and roasted.  I’m glad I changed my mind!  The stew itself was full of flavour and proteiny goodness with the black beans, chickpeas and lentils.  I discovered I was all out of red lentils so I used green instead.  Red lentils would have been nicer but I was happy with the stew and the fig topping added a nice sweet touch.  I would probably leave the figs off next time, as I’m fine with the stew on its own:

morroccanbeanstew

From ED&BV I made the Peanut Butter Banana Tortillas.  I used sunflower seed butter instead of peanut butter (this is a suggestion in the recipe and Arthur eats too much peanut butter as it is!). I used wholegrain wraps instead of tortillas and used my sandwich press instead of cooking in a frying pan.  Arthur liked these but DeeW didn’t.  If oooonly I could find recipes both children like that don’t involve the word Fry’s before it… anyway, I can see these nut/seed butter + banana tortillas being a bit of a dangerous thing when I have chocolate chips about.  I miiight have put choc chips inside the leftover piece and heated it up…

pbbananatortillas

I tried the Veggie Sizzle Burritos from ED&BV.  Easy to make  but unfortunately I was the only one who liked them (the family don’t go for wrapy-burrito-type things.  I KNOW, right?) I took this photo before serving it up nicely with some salad.  That’s a bit of Cheezly on top, I had to be careful with the cheeze sprinkling because the family wouldn’t touch one with cheeze.  Without it, they at least took a bite:

veggiesizzleburrito

Finally, here is the Cashew Ginger Tofu from ED&BV.  This tofu was fantastic.  I served mine on soba noodles with some salady stuff, stir fried zucchini and carrot and lots of fresh mint and coriander:

gingercashewtofu

There are so many more of Dreena’s recipes that I have bookmarked so I will definitely be blogging about those in the future!

Autumn food and decorating

mantel1

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