Vasilopita: New Years bread in the bread maker

Vasilopita is a cake, or a bread, served on New Years Day in many Greek Orthodox homes.  A Vasilopita is named in honour of St. Basil and St. Basil’s name day is celebrated on January 1st.  A coin is placed in the Vasilopita and whoever gets the piece with the coin is said to have good luck for the year.  My grandmothers always made a Vasilopita and we nearly always celebrated New Years Day at my Papou (grandfather) Basil’s house, which was more a celebration of his name day than the first day of the year 🙂  Husband and I do not observe religious events, but this was a very important day for my grandparents and so I like to make a Vasilopita to teach Arthur and DeeW about their family’s history.

Last year, I  made my Vasilopita as a cake:

vasilopita2

This year, I used this recipe I found at http://vvoc.org/2012/01/03/new-years-bread-vasilopita/

I followed the recipe pretty exactly as stated though I had a 7g sachet of dried yeast (the recipe states 8g).  So I will paste the recipe here but with ingredients and instructions based on what I did. All credit for the recipe goes to the authors of that link, not me!

BREAD MAKER VASILOPITA

from http://vvoc.org/2012/01/03/new-years-bread-vasilopita/

3 teaspoons of orange zest

2 Tablespoons of orange juice

Egg replacer (Made up to be equivalent of one whole egg and one egg white.)

65ml soy milk

6 Tablespoons of Nutellex (or other vegan margarine)

2 teaspoons of aniseed juice (see below)

90g caster sugar

425g plain white flour

1 x 7g sachet of yeast

3 Tablespoons of warm water

Method

  1. Prepare the aniseed juice I bought a packet of star anise, measured out a tablespoon in a teacup and covered it with boiled water, just enough to touch the tops of the anise and I let it sit for a few hours. I used this liquid in the recipe.

  2. Finely zest enough orange to make 3 teaspoons.  Set aside.

  3. Juice the orange and set aside.

  4. Prepare the egg replacer as per instructions on packet and set aside.

  5. Prepare yeast by placing the 3 Tablespoons of warm water in a glass bowl and dissolving a pinch of sugar. Sprinkle the contents of the sachet into the water, swish about a bit then cover with a cloth and set aside out of drafts.

  6. Measure out milk and set aside.

  7. Measure out margarine, melt and set aside.

  8. Weigh the flour and set aside.

  9. Weigh the sugar and set aside.

  10. By now, the yeast should have started to activate (It will look a little bit fluffy/frothy.)

  11. Place ingredients into the bread machine in the following order:

    1. zest

    2. juice

    3. aniseed juice

    4. egg replacer (you may need to whisk as it may have settled)

    5. margarine

    6. soy milk

    7. caster sugar

    8. flour

  12. Make a small well in the top of the flour and tip the yeast on top.

  13. Place pan into bread maker and select the sweet bread setting.

 

Ha!  You whacky Veganopoulous!  As I pasted in this recipe I just realised I did not melt the Nutellex!  Yep, I missed that bit and added it in unmelted.  It didn’t cause a problem luckily:

bread maker Vasilopita

The Vasilopita bread turned out great.  Nice and sweet and the Greeks that ate it said it tasted like tsoureki (a sweet egg-rich brioche-like bread often served at Easter).  I think I’ll use this dough to make my tsoureki at Easter.  Perhaps I can have it rise in the bread maker then transfer it to the oven in the traditional plaited shape.

bread maker Vasilopita

I’m so pleased to have a Vasilopita recipe for the bread maker that turns out so well! I think I will make this when my mother and her Greek friends are fasting during Lent, to amaze them with this I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-butter-and-eggs tsoureki!

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Another whoops-I-forgot-the-What-I-Ate-posts Post

Whoops indeed.  I’ve been pretty busy lately and neglecting the blog a bit.  This is the time of year where I start mapping out next year’s schooling plans so most of my computer time has been spent doing that.

First up, many happy returns to Mister Nice Guy’s Bake Shop!  I tried their maple facon bun, yummm.  We also got a free mini cupcake to celebrate the happy birthday.  Here’s to many more birthdays!

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Mini pumpkin pies and pecan pies!

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I have a new toy!  Yay for credit card reward points. And blu tack on the walls to hold up recipe printouts:

juicer

One of Arthur’s favourite meals is Dreena Burton’s BBQ Sunflower Tofu.  Yes, there’s a lack of vegetables.  He drinks them instead (but don’t tell him.  I just call it ‘juice’):

bbqsunflowertofu

I picked up this packet of mac and cheese from Bed and Broccoli’s stall at World Vegan Day.  My mac and cheeze attempts have always been a little mehhh but this was nice.  I wish the rest of the family would eat mac and cheeze:

maccheesebednbroc

My mum made yemista (stuffed Greek vegetables) with roast potatoes:

yemista

I made some chocolate sweet potato brownies:

sweetpotatobrownies1

Late night munchies: refried beans in tortillas cooked in the frying pan.  I really don’t like canned refried beans:

refriedbeans

Arthur usually asks for porridge (oatmeal) with a little golden syrup:

porridge

I went to Lord of the Fries and took this bad picture:

lotf2

I opted for some vegan mayo sauce on the fries.  Whenever I get a sauce I think nope never again (I don’t like too much sauce) but when I get plain fries, I always wish I got a sauce.  WHAT TO DO:

lotf1

 

Mama’s making Kantong with frozen vegetables.  I have to say it, I really dislike the taste of frozen vegetables.  Do you think they have that frozen-veggies taste?  Anyway, I used some mock duck and soy nuggets with a packet of Kantong.  It was okay but those packet sauces have a fair bit of sugar:

kantongsomething

Some satay buns I bought from Global Green Vegetarian Food Mart:

buns2

buns1

A can of gigantes (large beans, Greek style).  This photo is awfully red but I don’t think there’s any red food colouring involved:

gigantes

I tried these Redwood burgers and decided that if I go to a bbq and want a burger, these will be it.  Much nicer than the Fry’s burger in my greedy opinion:
redwoodburgers

I made a Thai style curry using some soy slices.  The slices come dried and you have to rehydrate them.  These were awful and had a really strong soy milk taste.  I mean, obviously, they’d taste like soy, being soy.  But I don’t like the taste of soy milk in anything other than my cornflakes.  I don’t want my Thai curries tasting like soy milk.  The soy nuggets I use (in the picture above somewhere) don’t have the soy milk taste:

soyslices

Honest, we eat fruit and vegetables and healthy stuff.  I just forget to take photos of those!

Dinner at Philhellene, Moonee Ponds

My mum’s birthday was this week and she decided she wanted to have her birthday dinner at Philhellene.  When she initially phoned them up, she asked about vegan options for me and was assured there were vegan dishes.  Of course, this didn’t stop me from going straight to the menu online and confirming that for myself 🙂

It was a busy night but our entrees arrived quickly.  My sister and I shared the ‘rodi dip’, which was made from roasted red capsicum, walnut and pomegranate:

philhellene1

I stuffed myself on bread before even thinking to ask if it was vegan, seeing as all the Greek women in my family only ever made bread with vegan ingredients.  I just assumed it was then later smacked myself in the head for not asking (I don’t want to know now!):

philhellene5

Arthur and DeeW got some chips and I had… quite a few of those:

philhellene2

I ordered the cauliflower salad with cous cous, parsley, pomegranate, onion, almond and dressed with a pomegranate molasses vinaigrette.  This was delicious and not a huge serve, though I was already a little full with the bread, dip, and pinching the chips.  I want to try and replicate this at home as it was a winner for me:

philhellene4

My sister ordered the vegetarian platter.  I’m really proud of my sister.  She no longer eats meat and although she’s more vegetarian now, most of what she eats or cooks is vegan.  Anyway, I’ve decided to include a photo (I only show vegan foods here on the blog but in this case all you see is pastry!).  I think the only non-vegan item on the veg platter are the pastries which contained feta and spinach.  This was a really big meal and my sister couldn’t finish it without help (she didn’t eat the pastries 😉 :

philhellene3

We all enjoyed our meals and service was very efficient and friendly.  The restaurant was quite busy and although our entrees arrived quickly, our mains took a really long time which is kinda a little difficult when you have young children getting impatient!  I’d brought along stuff to keep them occupied so fortunately there was no “where’s Charlie Chan with that food?” moment:

murielswedding

I didn’t have a chance to take a photo of the inside of Philhellene, plus there were people everywhere, so here’s the indoor view from my seat:

philhellene6

 

Although not a vegan establishment of course, I was very happy with my food and if my family wanted to go back there I would gladly order the rodi dip again (though I’d check if the pita bread is vegan but ohhh it was good bread) and some of the other vegan options.

Philhellene is located at 551-553 Mt. Alexander Road, Moonee Ponds. http://www.philhellene.com.au/

Random What I Ate and my containers problem

So many food flops, you guys.  So.many.flops.  Let’s start with my eggplant and potato curry, where I thought I’d just throw in a bit of this and a bit of that.  And what I ended up with was a horrible overspiced bitter-aftertasting mess.  I ate this portion but had to bin the rest.  Note the mustard seed overdosing:

eggplantcurry

After reading about Kantong packet mixes over at Vegan Bullsh*t I was pretty pleased to see that Coles supermarket had a special where you buy two for a reduced price.  I bought the Chow Mein packet sauce and the Sizzling Mongolian (which, unfortunately, does not involve a hot dude).  As I eyeballed the Kantong, I couldn’t help but wonder: If mama’s making Kantong, will it take long for the kids to come around?

I had also bought these mock meats from Global Green Vegetarian Food Mart:

mockstuff

I used the ‘Princess’ stuff on the left.  First I fried it in a little oil and stir fried my veggies and added the Sizzling Mongolian sauce.  This was actually quite nice, a bit on the sweet side but still okay.  For the chow mein, I used some tofu I’d dusted in cornflour and fried the day before, along with more veggies and some ramen noodles I had lying around.  I didn’t like the chow mein much and found it a bit too salty and I was too lazy to make rice for the Sizzling Mongolian so I just kinda plopped one on top of the other and this way, it was fine:

chowmeinmongolian

I also decided to try this mock duck made from bean curd skin.  I was kinda surprised it looked like this when I opened the packet.  I half expected it to speak to me and tell me what to do next:

mockduck2

I sliced it up and marinated it in hoi sin sauce for a few hours then fried it up:

mockduck

I’d say this was a flop.  The outer layers would go crispy but the inside bean curd sheets didn’t seem done so I had to pull the layers apart to be sure everything cooked inside.  Next time I’ll use the oven option.

Now for a flop on the healthy eating side.  I present you with my number one comfort food: cornflakes with hot milk, sugar and chocolate powder.  When I was little and would stay with my grandparents, my grandma would always make us cornflakes.  And as this was the Time Before Microwaves, grandma would heat the milk in her little saucepan and pour it over the cornflakes which had already been dusted with some sugar and Milo.  These days, I use a bit of raw sugar and the Milo is replaced with Loving Earth drinking chocolate powder.  Soy milk too of course.  Anyway, the other day I was cleaning out the wardrobe drawers in the spare bedroom and found a Christmas card from my grandma.  She died three years ago so it was a bit of a suprise to find the card and a $50 note inside.  I’d obviously put it in the drawer for safe keeping and forgot about it.  I started feeling a little sad, so I went and made hot cornflakes.  I have never been able to eat cornflakes with cold milk, ever:

cornflakes

At mum’s house, I had this tasty lunch with her pilafi rice, simple greens salad, home made eggplant dip and canned Greek beans:

mumslunch

I made Black Pepper Tofu to share with my mum and sister.  I mixed in rice I’d cooked the day before.  YUM:

blackbeantofu

I’ve been under the weather this past fortnight and haven’t really had the energy to be creative in the kitchen.  We did enjoy some nice visits to the library.  The kids are free to choose their own books, though Husband and I will often skim over them to see if they’re appropriate.  Or not crap.  I’m stunned at how many picture books for little kids are completely rubbish.  I mean really, really rubbish.  Anyway, when we got home Arthur disappeared in to his room, then later I heard him burst out laughing, heard the creaking of his bunk bed ladder, heard him running down the hallway and he runs in to my room barely able to talk or breathe because he was all “the boy… in this book HA HA HAAAAAAA got in trouble HAHAHAHEEEEEEE from his teacher becauseHAHAHAHAHHA becauseHAHAHAHAHEEEEEEE becausebecause because he drew HAHAHAHAHAH he drewHAHHAHAHEHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAa he drew a submarine instead of a peeHEHEEEEEEpeeHEHEHEEE penis”.  I looked at him and said say, what’s this book you’re reading and Arthur says “the one you chose for me”:

library

Lately I’ve been decluttering.  A full garbage bag of stuff went to the op shop and today’s task was to sort out the old kitchen dresser.  It houses all my cookbooks, storage containers, oven trays and cake tins and just crap in general.  Once a year I make sure all the containers are stored with their lids but six months later, I end up with this:

dresser1Stuff is thrown everywhere and the lids are who knows where.  So today I sorted all that out.  I also realised I have a slight problem when it comes to cookie cutters…

cutters

Yes, that’s a Princess Toadstool pink cookie cutter.  I got them from a seller on Etsy who uses a 3D printer for My Little Pony and Super Mario cutters.  I got them for DeeW but haven’t used them yet.  And those Easter themed cutters in the round tin look great, but they’re really small.  Anyway, I went through that box of 100 Cookie Cutters and took out a few basic shapes and holiday themed cutters and the rest are off to the op shop.  I also have a heap of plastic containers to take to the op shop, though I fished a few back out to now sensibly store my cutters:

cutters2

After the Clean (the empty space is for my wok):
dresser2
… then I found all the ice cube trays.  I know we have about three more but I can’t find them.  This is the problem with Ikea, you see the really cheap ice cube trays and suddenly you find you CAN NOT leave there without the fish cubes:

icetrays

So that’s really been it.  MoFo mojo practically non existant though I do have a flop to post about soon.  See you then!

Vegan MoFo 2013: Day 3’s smoothie and finally, MoFo themed meals

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Another smoothie for breakfast today, this time an old favourite made with brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, hemp protein, frozen banana, a date and some cacao nibs (and water):

brazilnutetcsmoothieLunch was a salad wrap.  I visited my mum a couple of days ago and she’d chopped up some ingredients to make a coleslaw (cabbage, celery, red capsicum, parsley, dill) and I took a small container home with me.  For the wrap bit, I used lettuce leaves.  The non-raw element is the eggplant dip I also scored from my mum’s house, she and my sister had roasted some eggplant and made a delicious garlicky dip so I plopped that on to give the whole thing some flavour (and I had to use up the dip, nobody else in my house eats it):

saladwrap

Fortunately my appetite is returning  because I decided to also have a vegan stuffed capsicum that my mum prepared.  In Greek we call this dish “yemista” and they’re traditionally made with a combination of mince meat and rice but during Lent, many people make vegan versions.  My mum’s version is delicious and hopefully I can blog the recipe one day:

yemista

Before leaving for Sydney last week, I made some meals to freeze so that I wouldn’t have to run around wondering what to cook for MoFo the day after returning home.  I made the Pumpkin Chickpea Cauliflower Curry from Dreena Burton’s ‘Let Them Eat Vegan!’, using the oil free option (which is just omitting the oil when you fry stuff and use a splash of water instead).  Dreena recommends serving this with her Fresh Cream Sauce, made with raw cashews but I discovered I was all out of raw cashews and tried macadamias instead.  I added more lemon juice to the macadamia cream than the recipe called for, so mine was more a Fresh Macadamia Lemony Cream Sauce.  Still, it was fine spooned on top of the stew (though I think the cashew version would be much nicer) which I served with some red quinoa I’d cooked and frozen a long, long time ago (as in, I was surprised to find it in the freezer and decided I better use it):

pumpkinchickpeacaulicurry

Dreena’s recipe calls for a can of pumpkin puree but I just cooked and pureed some butternut pumpkin I had in the fridge.  It made about half a can’s worth, so with the full amount it would have turned out better.  Still, it was loaded with veggies and chickpeas, was oil free and gluten free so I kept with my MoFo theme there when it comes to cooking my own meals  😉