Croissants, courgette cakes and cauliflowers from outer space
What no MoFo? Sadly, I'm not doing the Vegan Month of Food this month due to my ongoing exam preparation hell. Still, I am gorging on all the other wonderful blogs out there and will be back for MoFo next year.
In the meantime, I really have been eating properly, I promise. It's just that everything I've been taking photos seems to involve baked goods. It's not because I've just been stuffing myself with pastry and cake, but more that the everyday stuff I've been cooking tends to be one pot meals, quick to make, quick to eat, so I'm only taking minimum time out to hit the books. Given my food of late has been all about function rather than form, I didn't bother getting the camera out.
Yet, when I see a finely turned out pain au chocolat, I have to reach for the camera to share the baked wonder with you. Like these little beauties - I salute Jus Rol's fine work on this front. You've got love vegan-friendly bake at home croissants that you can pick up in your local supermarket.
And when I saw a new type of vegan friendly ice cream on a recent resupply mission to the Japan Centre, I decided I had to give it a try - meet Yi, a coconut milk based ice cream. It comes in a fair few interesting flavours, including this one - coconut and wasabi ripple.
I can't tell you if the inclusion of wasabi was a good or bad thing, as there wasn't a huge amount of it in there. The result, then, was a nice but unsurprising coconut ice cream. While it's good to see a new vegan ice cream on the market, if you were looking for a tasty coconut milk gelato, I think I'd point you in the direction of ZenZen, whose maple, pecan and banana efforts are rocking my world right now.
Andrea of Andrea's Easy Vegan Cooking opened my eyes a while back to the possibilities of putting vegetables into cakes and I've taken that particular ball and run with it. Into a big cakey end zone. Repeatedly. First it was sweet potato brownies, and now it's courgette cake loaves.
I discovered this vegan courgette cake recipe not so long ago and now I feel like an evangelist for it. I sort of want to stop people on the street and say, 'dude, did you know that we've been living in a world where this cake exists all this time, and we've only just found it? I know, right? Quick, run home and make one now'.
I made this one with a lime drizzle. It didn't taste overly courgettey (or courgettey at all, in fact) but the strands of zucchini made it really rich and moist. Plus I can get one of my five a day from a slice of cake, so that can only be a good thing. (I know, I know...)
Related exits from my oven of late included some banana muffins. I had a single banana that was on the turn, and after a quick Google, turned up this rather nice recipe for vegan banana nut muffins for two.
I think an oft-overlooked benefit of vegan baking is how scaleable it is. Most omni cake recipes are governed by the number of eggs involved, because hey, who wants to use half an egg? So most recipes tend to make a family sized cake. Vegan baking, because it has not of the grimness and relies on things that are measured by the gramme, can be scaled up or down as you need. In this case, scaled down to make just two muffins - one went to me, one to Mr Flicking the Vs.
The brown goo inside is ready-made vegan salt caramel sauce, a kind gift from a friend.
Still, it tasted amazing, and was mostly made of leftovers so cheap too! I made some carrot and swede mash as a side dish for Sunday lunch had a truck still left once we'd finished our meal. The next day I boiled up some split dried fava beans, added home made stock and garlic, and dumped in the spare mash.
The result was astonishingly good - creamy and comforting. I was surprised at how well it turned out, and had to check it was good all the way through by eating a second bowl. (It was.)
Another non-sweet item that made its way into my kitchen was this bold, beautiful cauliflower. I admit it, I bought it for the colour alone. I love caulis, but this one was calling to me more than the others - what a great look. There were orange and white versions at the market, but I just couldn't say no to this gem.
It made an honourable cauliflower cheese (vegan cheese, obvs) with some cherry tomatoes. It didn't taste any different to standard caulis, but it didn't make me feel like I was eating alien trees for dinner - what's not to love?