The last week or so has been irritatingly busy, keeping me from fulfilling the online duties of my blogger/’responsible adult contributing to society’ double life. Work has been particularly time-consuming, keeping me at my desk well past my home time and even into my cooking time. We’ve also had a couple of visitors (including my father, henceforth referred to as ‘Dadwiko’ as per his request), meaning trips out of the house for dinner. How novel!
And on top of this, Chadwiko’s camera batteries finally died and we realised that we lost the charger in the move. All this has meant that my contributions to the cookbook challenge have been a little slack at best.
But on a positive note, my copy of Eat, Drink and Be Vegan finally arrived (it’s funny how a few choice words to an online store can cut the shipping time down from ‘three weeks’ to ‘next day’), so I was able to finish off that week with a pan-Asian themed meal using a couple of notable recipes from the book.
(Apologies for the less than impressive photos. As much as I love my camera, it’s not really suited to this kind of photography.)
Both the quinoa and tofu recipes come from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan, while the broccoli comes from Appetite for Reduction. I really enjoyed this. Quinoa is something that I’d like us to eat a lot more of, and this was a quick and delicious way to prepare it. I cut down the amount of lime juice slightly, since there seemed to be an overpowering amount in the recipe. It proved to be a good decision, the flavour was still pronounced but without obscuring the other ingredients. The recipe also originally calls for dried apricots to be added, which I left out because I just don’t like them. And really, there’s nothing more annoying than someone making a recipe containing something that they hate and then complaining that it wasn’t good.
Chadwiko loved this tofu. It’s quite similar to one I often make with peanuts, so I knew that this would be a winner. Next time I make this though, I’ll change the baking method- the recipe called for the tofu to be baked in a pan with the sauce. I found that the sauce quickly solidified, so next time I would reserve the sauce and perhaps add it to the pan in the last five or ten minutes of baking just to heat it through.
I generally enjoyed cooking from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan, particularly on weeknights when I didn’t have a lot of time for elaborate meals. The book does rely quite heavily on premade items such as vegan sour cream or even packaged tempeh bacon, which is a quality I’ve criticised in other books before. But the difference here is that Eat, Drink and Be Vegan quickly establishes itself as a ‘quick meals’ book for busy people rather than a collection of gourmet recipes, as Urban Vegan tries to be. I can appreciate the honesty that Eat, Drink and Be Vegan offers in that regard.
So with that week over, it was time to move on to one I’ve been looking forward to- free choice week! Just before Christmas, I finally bought a copy of Bryant Terry’s Vegan Soul Kitchen. But with travelling, moving house and then the cookbook challenge, I haven’t had the opportunity to use it yet. This week will change all that!
I’d originally worried that too many ingredients in this book would be too hard for me to find here. But after taking the time to look through it, I realised just how many basic protein and vegetable side dishes were actually quite accessible… and delicious sounding. So I quickly got started on putting together my first meal.
The rosemary tofu was a recipe that caught my eye very early on- in the sense that I read it, thought it seemed far too simple and wondered ‘how could this be good?’. But it really, really was. It was a definite departure from the strongly-flavoured Asian tofu variations that I usually make, but in a good way. The focus here was more on the texture of the tofu, which was great. The subtle spices just added something extra. This is a great basic protein that could really be paired with almost anything.
The beans were delicious, with the vinaigrette making them really pop. But the sweet potatoes were the absolute stand out for me. I didn’t think I could love sweet potatoes any more, but this dish proved me wrong. I want to eat these all the time. Possibly from some kind of trough.
This meal quickly pushed Vegan Soul Kitchen into my favourite cookbooks. Here’s hoping that the rest of the week can live up to this first, lofty example.