One week cooking from Vegan Soul Kitchen
Phew! It's been a bit hard getting back into the saddle after the blog-frenzy that was VeganMoFo, but cooking is like crack, and you soon notice when you've left it too long before topping yourself up.
For this month, I thought I'd challenge myself - and the patience of anyone reading this blog - to cook from all the vegan cookbooks that are taking over my bookshelf.
You know how it is, you buy a book, you drool over the recipes, you make mental notes on which ones you're going to make, and maybe you do make a couple. Then the next cookbook starts fluttering its eyelashes and the cycle starts all over again.
No more! Never again will a cookbook be left behind in the Flicking the Vs household. You will all be cooked from, and appreciated.
First up is Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry.
My first attempt at fooling around with Mr Terry's work was not a success: the Roasted Potato and Mixed Greens Gratin. I love potatoes, I love greens. What could go wrong?
Cooking times, that's what. After the potatoes were baked for 40 minutes and the green boiled, they were both insulted with 45 minutes in the oven and came out a slodgy, disappointing mess.
And yet, if you could get beyond the swampy textures and concentrate on the flavours, you couldn't fault it. If only doing so wasn't so much of an effort.
The Crisp Green Beans with Roasted Shallots and Walnuts were a bit of a misnomer, as I used hazelnuts, but more because of being decidedly uncrisp after a rather too long spell in boiling water. Again, if you could gloss over that, the dish was spot on flavour-wise - sharp and, thanks in no small measure to its thyme quotient, interestingly complex.
Next up, a take on one meal I've been overly familiar with this year - rice and beans - in the form of Red Wine Simmered Seitan with Red Beans and Brown Rice.
The week also yielded the quite frankly astounding Molasses-Vanilla Ice Cream with Candied Walnuts. Having recently been won around to molasses, it managed to completely 180 my previous opinion thanks to its starring role in this frozen pudding. Quick - go make it now. You won't regret it.
This meal was my absolute favourite of the whole experiment - the creamy pillow of tofu wrapped up in a kidney punch of spice, and a salsa that gave the Extreme Makeover treatment to butter beans: 'Why, butter beans, you're beautiful! How did I not notice before?'
Being an Englishwoman that's not visited the Deep South, I've no idea what Soul Food is and I've definitely no idea what good Soul Food is. That said, thanks to Mr Terry, (brace yourself, pun coming up) I'm now totally Souled on it.