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What I've been cooking at home, from pies to pizza

I've posted so much about eating out recently, I thought it was time to balance things out a bit and show you what's been going on in my kitchen.


This isn't a recnet picture (I've no idea how long it's been idling on my camera) but I thought it was worth sharing becuase it involves the wonderfully named cardoons.

Cardoons are, so I'm told, a relative of the thistle. You woudn't know it from their appearance - they're more like celery that's been down the gym a bit. They don't taste thistly either (though to be fair, I've never tried eating a thistle, but I'm going out on a limb and saying that's the case).  Their taste has been compared to artichokes, which seems a fair summation.

And, like artichokes,  they're a right load of effort to prepare.  If memory serves, I had to scrub, deleaf and boil the living daylights out of these lot for half an hour before I actually got around to the cooking of them. I didn't know what to do with them, so I put them in a gratin, as there's very few veggies that don't take well to wallowing in a shedload of vegan cream and a spell in the oven.


From a one off to a regular in meal rotation: tofu bacon.

My tofu bacon is pressed firm tofu marinating in paprika, soy sauce, liquid smoke, sesame oil, and maple syrup or blackstrap molasses for as long as possible. It's simple, but oh so good. I sometimes make enough for a week, and find myself frying up a slice for lunch every day.

I'm experimenting with making more of my own bread in an effort to cut the plastic waste I generate, so this homemade tofu bacon is on homemade focaccia too. I wouldn't say it's the most focacciay focaccia I've ever eaten, but for dodgy baker like me, it was pretty good.

I've made a sort of tofu BLT here with some sundried tomatoes. Why I keep buying them, I'm not sure. I really don't like sundried tomatoes, but I don't seem to be able to stop them turning up in my kitchen. They're sort of like vegetable cockroaches. Can't fault the bacon though.


In other fake meat dishes (I prefer the term 'upgraded meat dishes!) that have been arriving on my plate of late: Linda McCartney pies. I blame having Cockney parents, but in times of stress, I turn to pastry. When I was in the middle of exam week and cooking a proper meal seemed to be more than I could manage, I'd stick a pie and some potatoes in the oven, make some cursory salad, and that would be it.

Now it's summer holidays and I can't quite shake the pastry habit....


And with all the good weather of late, the first fruits of Mr FtVs mum's garden have been coming my way - why, hello rhubarb!

Said lovely ma gave me a bunch of dainty stems, which I thought would be best roasted with a little sugar and topped with a bit of Nush yoghurt. It's a brand I've not tried before. Nush do both cashew and almond yoghurt - for some reason, the cashew ones have standard flavours (strawberry, vanilla, natural) and the almond ones are a bit more exciting (blueberry, peach melba, caramel and hibiscus).

I tried the latter and it was really rather lovely:


I'm not a massive yoghurt fan, but I keep thinking in the spirit of reducing waste I should make my own. Andrea's Easy Vegan Cooking has a good tutorial on how to yoghurt at home, so I'll be using it next time I have a craving for more yoghurt.

And in the spirit of waste reduction (I'd use the term zero waste, but I'm so far from creating no waste, so it would seem a bit like I was taking the mickey), I've been making my own pizza.

Normally, I'd get a readymade base that comes covered in plastic and sits on a layer of non-recyclable awfulness. So, I made my own dough! And it turned out OK! *fanfare* I used a no knead recipe (this one, in fact) fully expecting some weird awfulness to result, and my expectations were well and truly confounded. It was nice, and I'll be making it again. Up yours, plastic!

I even made the cheese sauce and tomato sauce myself - the former is cashews and all the gubbins you'd expect, while the latter is just roasted tomatoes, onions, and garlic blended up together. 

Here's the pic before it went into the oven. I would have taken a picture after it came out but, y'know, I was too busy shoving it in my mouth.

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6 comments

  1. It's always a happy day when I find a Linda McCartney pie in Prague! I'm also a huge fan of sundried tomatoes, so I can't fathom your reaction to them.

    I've never heard of cardoons, they sound really interesting but also like a lot of hard work! Great food all round, I hope you're enjoying your summer holiday!

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  2. Would love to make tofu bacon so often - I don't make it enough lately - and I love pastry for comfort too (perhaps I have some cockney ancestors hidden in my family tree). Thanks for the yoghurt recommendation - one of these days I will try making vegan yoghurt.

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  3. I've had cardoons once, I liked the artichoke flavor of them but not the long prep time. The tofu bacon looks divine and good for you baking your own bread! Those same sun-dried tomatoes are in my kitchen too, they've been hanging out in the pantry since forever. :-)

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  4. I love that Nush yoghurt :-) And, for the matter, the look of all of your recent meals!

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  5. I am so with you on the pies! Perfect comfort food. I'm a little jealous of your rhubarb, that's definitely something that I've been missing over the last couple of years of travel. I'm trying to reduce waste too (I'm also so far from zero waste that calling it that would be laughable) and I'm going to be trying to bake my own bread when I get back to the UK, your focaccia and pizza look pretty good for someone who claims to be a dodgy baker.

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  6. Your kitchen is doing quite well! I'm going to be traveling down the tofu bacon/seitan bacon road very soon. It is officially BLT season with the ripe heirloom tomatoes, and I am ready! I need to look for the Linda McCartney range, as everything you've shown looks fantastic.

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