Watercress Coconut Lumpia Spring Rolls from ‘Vegan Eats World’

‘Vegan Eats World’ by Terry Hope Romero was a book I pre-ordered with much excitement.  Vegan food, world cuisine– I’m sold!  When the book finally arrived I waited until I had a completely uninterrupted few hours just so I could sit down on the couch and really take my time looking through it.

The way I usually look through a new cookbook is like this: I look at pictures first.  Then I flip through the pages from the start and get a rough idea of the recipes.  Then I go back to the very start and read everything properly, the dedications, thank yous etc.  I then get a stash of little strips of scrap paper to use as bookmarks so I can come back to those pages.

With ‘Vegan Eats World’, I had to run and get myself some more little scrap paper bookmarks.  One recipe I made sure to note were the lumpia, or spring rolls.  I’ve never really wanted to make stuff fried in oil so I was pleased to see the recipe gives an option for oven baking.

Terry’s lumpia are made up of dried coconut that gets toasted, carrot, potato, cabbage, watercress, onion and garlic.  That stuff gets cooked up then you fill spring roll wrappers and roll them up and fry or bake.  I went for the fry option this time, just as one of those “I never do this otherwise, so why not try it”.  And truthfully, I wasn’t sure if they’d turn out in the oven.

The filling has vinegar in it (the kinds of vinegar are listed in the recipe) but I left it out entirely.  I also left out the onion because of pure laziness.  I just couldn’t be bothered dicing an onion.  That’s me.  There’s a dipping sauce recipe listed but I just used sweet chilli sauce instead.

I was surprised that these turned out great.  Not that I doubted Terry at all.  It was more this pattern I have, where I put effort in to a recipe and then somehow it doesn’t end up the way I think it should be so I’m all mehhh won’t do that again.

loempia1

I ended up making another batch in the oven just to see how they turned out.  Baking does not give them the nice even browning and I found they went too crunchy.  Still, the kids ate them all up:

loempia2

Since the initial experiment I’ve made them a few times and added chopped kale to the mix. The only problem with them is you can easily eat the entire batch in one sitting…

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Carrot Semolina Halva from Vegan Eats World

It seems all I am doing these days is trying out new recipes.  I have quite a few functions on this month where I have to take  food so I’ve been trying stuff out.

My latest experiment was the Carrot Semolina Halva from Terry Hope Romero’s Vegan Eats World.  I’ve had many variations of halva in my time, as different cultures have their own versions.  My grandmother made hers with lots of oil and semolina that spits in the pot and you have to be careful not to take your eye out with spattering oil.  Here’s a photo I found online, my grandmother used to pour hers in to a pie dish and turn it out, so the pieces were about 1cm high:

 My mum makes another version which turns out almost like a blancmange, again using lots of oil.  Here’s a picture I found which looks like the one my mum makes except mum adds chopped walnuts:

And then there’s the grey halva  you buy in Middle Eastern and Greek delis, which is basically tahini with a ton of sweetener (and it’s delicious and often vegan, check to see if it contains honey as some brands do).  Some have nuts mixed in, or chocolate:

I find all halva a bit too sweet so when I tried this recipe I cut the sugar way down.  Bad photo time.  The wall behind the books looks grotty, I know, but I swear it’s not grime or anything gross!  I haven’t bothered touching it up as we’re going to rip it all out next year:

CarrotHalva

It tasted pretty good (I’m a fan of cardamom), but the consistency wasn’t right, probably because I changed the recipe to suit my tastes 🙂  When it set I couldn’t cut it in to individual pieces as it was a bit too soft for that but this would be great served in individual bowls.  This is a recipe I would make again, cutting the sugar again by a lot and serving it in smaller bowls.

Thumbs up to Terry though, this is a really good recipe!

Gyros Roasted Seitan from Vegan Eats World

I was so happy when my copy of Terry Hope Romero’s ‘Vegan Eats World’ arrived.  What a gorgeous looking book.  Hardcover too!  I raced ahead flipping through the pages and had to say to myself now now Vegan Opoulous, hold your donkeys.  SO MUCH STUFF in this book looks absolutely divine. I had read about the gyros recipe before the book was released and have been itching to try it.

The recipe is really straightforward but does involve having made some seitan already.  So I had to go and make that first from another recipe in the book.  Traditional Greek flavours like thyme, garlic and lemon are used.

You then slice the cooled steamed seitan and marinate/roast the seitan strips. Terry recommends preparing the seitan dough a day ahead to allow the flavours to develop.  I was going to do this then remembered Husband will be out for lunch and dinner tomorrow.  So as Rod Stewart said in that ever-so-slightly-creepy song, tonight’s the night.

I served it up in a pita bread with tomato and salad greens.  I forgot to buy stuff to make a garlic sauce:

gyros roasted seitan

To be honest I was disappointed with the texture/firmness (my fault, I think the dough was too moist) but I won’t be making it again because I end up with stomach aches whenever I have vital wheat gluten.  Boo.  So no more seitan or VWG for me.  This is in no way the fault of the recipe, in fact I thought the flavours were magnificent and I’ll definitely utilise them in other recipes, like baked tofu.  I loved the crispy burnt bits.  I’m more disappointed to be missing out on this in the future as it really is a great recipe and Terry has done a super job with it!

“let me help with your gluten sensitivity!”

Yia sou!