Sunday, 13 January 2019

Vegan Mock 'Ham' Come Streaky Bacun 'Bacon'

I am gobsmacked to see so many social media lovies who have converted to veganism in the last five years or less get vegan cookbooks published and then act as if they are culinary geniuses, fooling people that they are the innovators and creators of recipes such as aquafaba meringues, tofu scrambled eggs, seitan mock mheat (bacon, beef roast, chicken) made with vital wheat gluten, carrot as 'smoked salmon', King Oyster Mushrooms 'Scallops and Pulled 'Pork' as Jackfruit.

It may be true that they are bringing beautifully photographed and presented vegan food substitutes to the attention of the those who do not necessarily cook from printed vegan or vegetarian cookbooks or food blogs and their main source of inspiration seems to be social media and Instagram. I applaud that, but to pretend that these innovative vegan recipes are their own invention by a simple adaptation or a little tweak does not bode well with me.  They do not get my praise or admiration.
One recent example of this is the vegan 'bacun'.  The last decade saw an eruption of innovative interpretations of vegan 'bacon' recipes being made with beans and grains, tofu, tempeh, coconut flakes, but the first time I ever saw a near perfect imitation for seitan 'bacon' was by The Gentle Chef - Skye Michael Conray.  

Chef Conroy's seitan based vegan 'bacun' was one of the most raved about recipes by former meat loving people.  I made his original seitan bacun recipe about three years ago.  I loved it and ordered some of his cookbooks for Christmas a few years back, since then Skye Michael Conray has has also published: Non Dairy Evolution CookbookVegan Eggz Cookbook; and The Gentle Sea CookbookHis influence is definitely found in the UK, but I have not once seen or read anything from these new vegan cookbook writers and food bloggers acknowledge him or any other vegan or vegetarian chef. It appears that because someone has made a minor adjustment or change to an original recipe, some new vegan food writers and food bloggers think they can fully claim credit for the recipe.  I quickly click through these PR blogs and flick through the pages of these flashy cookbooks and there is never ever any acknowledgement of inspiration source or credit to an original recipe in the bibliography, as once was found in published cookbooks. Its seems people are so desperate for recognition, awards, accolades and self-promotion that they will mislead their readers.  It seems discourteous to me and wrong, but it appears to me that this form of recipe plagiarism has become socially acceptable.  Soon they will be claiming credit for the watermelon 'ham'
So unlike those individuals, I put my hand up and say this recipe for vegan Seitan 'Ham' Come Streaky Bacun 'Bacon' does not come from me, it comes from the Gentle Chef.

Is it not magnificent?! 
Score this with a knife, then glaze with some apricot and treat it like vegan Seitan Ham!
As I said before, I have made the recipe a few times since discovering it as well as the recent availability of vital wheat gluten in the UK, which let me tell you was hard up until four years ago.  I have tweaked the recipe a little as I found it a little dry and chewy, but not so much to pretend and claim it as my own vegan mock 'ham' come streaky bacon 'bacon' recipe.  

To the original recipe, I add a tin of cooked chickpeas or white beans.  I divide the tin between the dough mixes.  This makes for a more softer and pliable slice.  
I also steam the seitan, rather than bake it.  As you can see from the photograph below (made a few years back), the oven baked version is dark, whereas the one above is not.  I have also noticed a difference in how long it is good for.  With the chickpeas its good for a week in the fridge; and without the chickpeas its good for ten days.  The recipes makes a huge amount, hence the reason I am holding it (above in one of the photographs) to demonstrate scale of size.  So if you do decide to make the recipe from the Gentle Chef, then please do share it or freeze it, just don't waste it!
Oven Baked Seitan Bacun 'Bacon'
By the way, one of the most popular recipes on my blog from 2011 (see sidebar) is also made with vital wheat gluten for vegan seitan chorizo, but again - the recipe is not mine.  It comes Viva Vegan and at the time Terry Hope Romero was gracious to grant me permission to share the recipe on my blog.  I have always been courteous and acknowledge source or inspiration of my recipes and will continue to do so. I ain't no fake!

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Four Yellow Dishes

Around this time last year I shared a blog post of photographed dishes not worthy of getting their blog posts in their own right.  

This blog post is a continuation of that theme.  I share four very Yellow recipes I made last year, that tasted okay but not very well presented as I just plonked in the bowl.  
The first is Turmeric Pilau with Yellow (aka Split Pea) Lentils and Curly Kale.  It was nice, but not very well photographed as I just hurriedly plonked the food in the bowl.
The second yellow dish was Cauliflower, Fenugreek and Yellow (Split Pea) Dal.  It came about when my darling husband wanted me to make Cauliflower Curry and I had a hankering for the most delicious of pauper dishes - Dal, so I decided to combine the both.  Combing dal with a vegetable is not that unusual, many families of South Asian heritage or diaspora do this, to add either add more flavour or texture or to bulk it up to feed a family.  It was really delicious and quite comforting to eat, but as it was served late in the evening - the lighting was poor and my kitchen table top is not the best either.  
The third yellowish Lemon cheesecake was made over Christmas in place of my traditional Christmas Cranberry Cake.  It did not turn out well.  For a start, look at the scary googly eyes on that angel figure. The cake itself, although edible was a bit of a flop - the biscuit base to hard, the whipped cream too fluffy (and not set) and then I went and smothered it and made it look even messy and clumpy with Prosecco Apricot Jam with edible glitter. 
The fourth Yellow recipe is for Coconut and Lemon Cake.  We liked it.  Its simple and has no airs or graces about it, and its own golden topping is glistening with nature bling, but it was too simple to share - even the lemon sweet slice on top could not make it fancy.
Coconut and Lemon Cake 
Recipe to follow. 
This is the Lemon Cheesecake recipe I used.

Do you have pictures unfit for sharing and food blogging ?

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Curried Shepherds Pie Topped with Turmeric Potato Balls

This is not the first flavoured Shepherds Pie on my blog, there are many variations of both vegetarian and vegan Shepherds or Shepherdess Pies on my blog, however this one is actually an enhanced version of my Curried Welsh Shepherds Pie recipe.  The only and main difference is the potato topping. 

Instead of the usual mashed potato topping, I decided to go all fancy and shape the potato into balls. I got the idea whilst flicking through The No Cook Cookbook
I won't be doing it again in a hurry as it was very time consuming, but well worth it - I think you may agree. 
The yellow turmeric mash balls are flecked with red chilli flakes and coriander was really lovely and reminisce of a good vegetable samosa.
The filling is made with textured vegetable protein (TVP) that mimics minced 'lamb', it's mildly spiced so won't upset those with a low tolerance of chillies. 

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Cream of Parsnip Soup with Lemon

I was gifted Meat Free Any Day for Christmas in 2014 and it is perhaps one of my most thumbed and well used cookbooks as it features food that you really want to eat and can easily make at home.  

Over the festive season I decided to make the Cream of Parsnip Soup with Lemon. I served it with homemade sourdough bread. 
Sarah Beattie's original recipe for this soup is made with cream, but I felt the soup once blitzed was naturally thick and creamy, so I decided to omit the addition of cream. I think this is the kind of soup you ant to be tucking into when you are feeling a bit under the weather or a little poorly.  It was a very warming soup with uplifting undertones of ginger and lemon.  If you want to make this soup, then please do check out Sarah Beatties Facebook Page, where you will find the recipe as well a number of other wonderful vegetarian and vegan recipes.
I have written about Sarah Beattie and her cookbooks before, so if you are interested please see here.  Below is a list of recipes that I have made from the Meat Free any Day cookbook including:

Leek and Brie Rostiflette
Parsnip Tamarind Curry
Tandoori Butterflied Aubergine
Winter Vegetable Tagine   

I am sharing this Lemony Parsnip Soup with Soup, Salad and Sammies Sundays hosted by Deb over at Kahakai Kitchen

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Things in my kitchen for the New Year

Happy New Year to you bloggers from around the world.

My kitchen this month is heavy with gifts from the festive season, as well as lots of leftovers as our eyes were bigger than our bellies (no Turkey though, remember I am vegetarian!).  

So let me begin.  Above is some left over homemade beetroot horseradish pate smothered over slices of Germanic style rye bread. For those of you interested, I will share the recipe later on in the month.
In my kitchen is this ceramic hen that holds some little jars of jam and marmalade.  I was also given some chutneys and boxes of chocolates (in fact I am eating a piece of dark chocolate right now).  If you want to see my Chocolate collection, then please have a look at my festive eats blog post if you click here
In my kitchen are empty containers that once held a very large Panettone.  The panettone is gone but the tin remains.  The tin will be used to hold some delicate Christmas decorations when we put away the Christmas tree back in the attic later today.
In my kitchen is a loaf of sourdough white bread.  I have been making sourdough bread a lot over the festive period, as I was mostly home alone on most days with D still having to go into work.  Its still hit and miss though. 

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

New Year to Eat More Greens Challenge

Happy New Year 2019 !

Let me start, by saying a big Thank you to my readers.  I honestly do appreciate you for supporting and reading my 'not for profit' blog and taking
time to comment when you can.  This continued interaction is part of the reason that I continue to blog. 

Well, its my turn to host the Eat Your Greens challenge.   Are you up for it?!

Its really easy to participate, all you have to do is make either a vegan or vegetarian recipe with green vegetables or fruit on your blog.  Then copy the blo
g link to the comment section below.  If your looking for some seasonal inspiration, then please do check out the #EatYourGreens archive, as well as The VegHog's Round Up from November 2018. Eat Your Greens is alternately co-hosted by myself and The VegHog

For more details Follow this link on how to participate just please remember to link back to the host page (this page) and my co-host The VegHog.   

The use of the #EatYourGreens logo is optional, but is appreciated.  The deadline is the 30th January and the Round up will be on the 1st February 2019.