Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Lia's guide to simple, delicious sandwiches for veggies

This sandwich is really simple, but it's still delicious! Apple, vegan cream cheese & peanut butter!
There was about a 3-year period where I hardly ate a sandwich. That period started about when I went vegetarian, and ended about 6 months ago.

Why, you ask? Because trying to make conventional sandwiches vegan without making serious adjustments leads to really awful sandwiches. Trust me, it's not pretty.

Sandwiches are just two pieces of bread with delicious fillings in the middle. That brings good news and bad news for vegans.

The good news is that bread is almost always vegan, or at least very easy to find in vegan varieties.

The bad news is that those delicious fillings we're used to seeing in sandwiches are hardly ever vegan.

So here are a few general tips and a couple of creations to inspire your own delicious, veggie sandwich-making!

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Coconut butter

There seems to be some confusion about what coconut butter is, and it's my pleasure to clear that up. Coconut butter is not coconut oil. It is not a combination of oils that makes vegan butter for use on your toast or in baking croissants.

Each of these blocks is about 1/2 cup coconut butter.
It's a nut butter. You got it: just like peanut butter, almond butter or pumpkin seed butter, it is just puréed coconut that makes a spreadable butter.

And you might ask why you would bother doing that with coconut, and it's a fair question. There are a few applications that I've found coconut butter really useful in. For one, coconut butter is terribly yummy just spread on your toast or used as a dip for fruit, so it does have some commonalities with other nut butters in that way. But perhaps even more interestingly, it has a lot of the properties of coconut oil, in that it gets really nice and solid when it's chilled. So when you use coconut butter as a base for something like a mock white chocolate, it turns out really creamy, smooth and brittle, much like chocolate is. So my most recent success with it was to make mint-chocolate chip mock white chocolate candies with coconut butter, and do I really need to tell you they were delicious?

So making coconut butter is actually really easy. But you do need a food processor for best results. So if you have one, don't be daunted; the process is actually laughably easy.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

The 5 tools in my kitchen that I'm most grateful for

This beauty has saved my ass more times than I can count.
Over the years, people have told me a bunch of times that they like my cooking, and I have usually answered that it's largely because I have good tools and high standards. The high standards you're on your own with, but I am going to go over some things in my kitchen that are tremendously helpful to have.

Some of these things are so old that I have no idea where I got them. When I can find them, I'll include links for easy purchase, in case you want to get anything. Full disclosure: purchases specifically through the Amazon links send a portion of the purchase back to me, so it helps me keep this blog up. So thanks in advance if that's the way you decide to go.

And now for the fun part: here are the goods!

Friday, 20 June 2014

Easy-cheesy stuffed mushrooms with garlic scapes (vegan)

I can't remember a time that I ever said "no" to mushrooms. That's how much I love them. (Unless they're raw, because that's just wrong.)

I've recently been on a dehydrating kick when it comes to mushrooms. For my vegan friends out there: dehydrating mushrooms amplifies their flavour. So it gives things that "meaty" flavour when you use dehydrated mushrooms, and that's a heck of a lot lower in MSG than Marmite (which--don't get me wrong--is still delicious as hell in gravy and full of vitamin B-12).

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Simple vanilla cake (vegan)

Where there's chocolate, there's vanilla shortly behind. At least in my world.

So when I made a post about chocolate cupcakes (still some of the best I've ever eaten), I immediately set out to remaster the recipe for a vanilla cake. Especially since I promised you delicious cake to use sprinkles on. (These ones I kept fairly simple with just a few candy ball bearings. The muffin wrappers were too pretty to distract from with bright colours or wild shapes, if you ask me!) These are pretty scrumptious, although I still think I like the chocolate better. (My roommate agrees.) It's tough to beat chocolate, but sometimes you just need a vanilla cake, plain and simple. Like when you're layering it with lemon curd or something. (Mmmm...maybe that should be my next project!)

In any case, the cake is very similar to the chocolate version, only without the...uh...chocolate. It's a really thin batter, which is how it gets that light, moist crumb, so don't freak out too much if your batter looks more like pancakes than like cake. It's 100% par for this course.