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Sunday Salon logoThe Sunday Salon is a virtual gathering of booklovers on the web, blogging about bookish things of the past week, visiting each others weblogs, and oh — reading books of course ;)

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This is my first Sunday Salon of 2011 and I’m going to talk about a cookbook. As you may have noticed, food has been on my mind a lot lately! ;) For my 10-day ExtraVeganza! project I relied heavily on the World Food Café: Global Vegetarian Cooking cookbook. It is a feast for the eye — and your tummy!

Cover World Food Cafe cookbook, Chris & Carolyn CaldicottThe book was put together by Chris & Carolyn Caldicott. It contains recipes they collected, or got inspired, on the many journeys they’ve made across the globe. They did so with the aim to open their own restaurant: the World Food Café in London.

Chris Caldicott is an awesome photographer and the cookbook is littered with beautiful full-colour photos — at least one on each double page. So even if you don’t like to cook, you could display this treasure on your coffee table. ;) But that is certainly not what it’s meant for.

It really is a great collection of recipes, many dairy-free! Rather unique for a vegetarian cookbook these days… Still, it is vegetarian and not all-vegan. Especially the section on The Americas ‘regularly’ contains dairy or eggs: 5 of the 23 (disregarding butter). Now that’s not too bad, is it? Unfortunately the only dessert of the book is among those — a mouthwatering chocolate cake. I wouldn’t know how to substitute the 6 eggs needed for that, but in many cases it’s possible to omit or replace the non-vegan ingredient.

As you may have understood from the previous paragraph, the book is divided in different global regions:

  • The Middle East & Africa (p.10-57)
  • India, Nepal & Sri Lanka (p.58-111)
  • Southeast Asia & China (p.112-145)
  • The Americas (p. 146-185)

Each continent starts with a two-page photograph, followed by an introduction. And most of the recipes also have short description of where they came from. The book concludes with a short glossary of ingredients and an index.

I’m sure I made 10 dishes from this book, of which 7 got a BIG thumbs up. The other 3 were either okay or so-so and I need to stipulate that in two of the cases I didn’t use the proper ingredients… I mostly cooked from the Indian section and am still dying to try the potato bondas (fritters) from North India that seem perfect for a bento. But so far my expeditions in search for the essential ingredient ‘asefetida‘ (a.k.a. hing) were in vain.

List of recipes tried

Middle East:

  • Hummus (p.35)

India, Nepal & Sri Lanka:

Southeast Asia & China:

This book comes highly recommended! And I would like to express a huge THANK YOU to the globetrotter in-laws that gave it to me as a birthday present.

Here’s a recipe we’ve made several times. You’ll find a variation of it in tomorrow’s bento!

Spicy Bean Curd & Bean Sprout Salad from Thailand

Ingredients
Serves 4-6

  • 1 cucumber; grated
  • 1 red bell pepper; seeded, deribbed and cut into fine strips
  • 8 ounces / 225 grams of bean sprouts (I grow them myself!)
  • 1 tbs sunflower oil
  • 10 ounces / 275 grams of tofu; cut into 1/2 inch (1 cm) slices and ready to fry
  • 1 garlic clove; crushed
  • 1-2 green Thai or serrano chilies; thinly sliced (red chili is fine)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbs light soy sauce
  • 2 ts packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (150 grams) skinned peanuts; toasted and crushed
  • handful of fresh cilantro leaves; chopped

Preparation

  1. Combine grated cucumber, bell pepper and bean sprouts in a salad bowl.
  2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and fry the tofu slices until brown and crunchy. Set aside en let cool.
  3. Using the same pan, sauté garlic and chilies for a few seconds, then add the lime juice, soy sauce and brown sugar. Stir until all ingredients are combined.
  4. Arrange tofu slices on top of the salad and sprinkle with crushed peanuts.
  5. Pour on the hot dressing and garnish with lots of cilantro.

ENJOY!

This review is my first post for the Foodie’s Reading Challenge!

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Join Beth Fish’s weekend cooking with a food-related post!

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ExtraVeganza logo, © variomatic

I can’t believe that Day Nine of ExtraVeganza! has ended and I’ve got only 1 more day to go of my pilot project. I’m actually pretty upset by it!

It’s going really well and I’m feeling so good about myself I’m thinking of prolonging Gnoe’s vegan adventures… I didn’t think it would be this easy! Only the ‘social’ part of it is a struggle: being a ‘problem’ for other people (including Mr Gnoe). I wonder how other (wannabe) vegans deal with that? I just don’t want to be a pain in the *ss to others… :\

Menu Day 9 (Friday February 4th)

Breakfast
I had a huge fruit smoothie of 1/2 cup lime soy yoghurt, 1 1/2 cup red fruit juice, 1 banana and a handful of frozen ‘forest fruits’. Filled me up till lunchtime.
I keep forgetting to make a picture of one of my smoothies… Yeah well, it’s just after I get up! I never had smoothies for breakfast until I started looking into a plant-based diet.

Lunch
Last night’s leftovers: pumpkin-coconut soup and coleslaw, pimped with grated carrot and toasted nuts. Two sammies:

  1. Tofutti, shredded rocket, radish, agave syrup and toasted walnuts (omega-3).
    This sandwich was a bit bland and needed more ‘cream cheese’ (which I had spread pretty thin) or the saltiness of sun-dried tomatoes — of course my taste buds were a little in shock of the spicy soup ;)
  2. Green gunk. ;) In other words: avocado mashed with pickled green chili, veganaise, gherkin and African Peper mix. Topped with alfalfa and cherry tomatoes. This one was yummy!

ExtraVeganza Day 9 Lunch, 04-02-2011

Dinner
We had planned to eat out at Kitchen Punx in ACU, but it is very stormy weather and we felt like staying at home. It might be a more festive idea anyway to go out to dinner on ExtraVeganza Day 10!

So instead we had the last leftovers from our Indian meal: Basmati rice, Orissan Jagdish Saag Aloo and green lentil curry. We added some mango chutney and tried a new dish from the World Food Café cookbook with the cauliflower florets that were hibernating in our fridge: Kashmir Gobi (p.64) — cauliflower in a sauce of onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, bay leaves, sugar and salt; topped with cashews and dried apricots. [Alright, actually raisins but I don’t like those in my food so I usually swap them for cranberries or apricot.]

It was pretty good! A bit strong but the recipe called for a large specimen and we only had about 1/4th for which we took about half of the spices etc. Instead of fresh tomatoes we used an open carton of passato tomato. Having more cauliflower would probably be better, but I’m not sure about the tomatoes. Will need to make it again and find out! ;)

Snacks
Again, no snacks: I didn’t feel the need to eat in between meals at all.

Experiences

Anything special about today?

Nope, nothing I didn’t tell you about yet.

Any difficulties?

Yesh. Feeling sad that it’s almost over! :( And thinking hard about how to deal with that.

ExtraVeganza logo, © variomatic

Sorry for keeping you in limbo about Gnoe’s vegan adventures. Sometimes blogging just has to come last :\ In order to prevent an abundance of rss-feeds I decided to do a compilation post on the three days that went ‘missing’.

Menu Day 4 (Sunday January 30th)

Breakfast
I started my Sunday with two slices of Marmite on toast and latte coffees.

Lunch
Erm… forgot to write it down and now I can only remember one sandwich with Tofutti and radishes! I was busy preparing dinner for our guests.

Dinner
Here’s what we served our friends.

  • Pakistani Dahl (red lentils)
  • Calcutta eggplant
  • Orissan Jagdish Saag Aloo (spinach & potato dish from Jagdish café in Orissan)
  • Puy lentil curry
  • Basmati rice
  • Garlic-cilantro naan (bread)
  • Mango chutney

Snacks

  • The Vegan Paradise Cookies I baked on Friday (served with tea)
  • Salted pecans
  • Lemon olives
  • Potato chips
  • 5 colours of raw veggies: radish, red paprika, carrot and celery stalk
  • Dips made of veganaise: garlic with herbs and whisky
  • Just for me (earlier in the day): banana & kiwi fruit

Anything special about today?

Like I said yesterday we were having friends over for dinner and a 24-Day 8 mini-marathon: the final four episodes of the very last (?) season. When having dinner guests we usually serve them well-tried dishes, possibly adding one new recipe. This time, we just dove into the deep end and prepared a completely untested Indian dinner. Now we’ve cooked Indian before, including vegan dishes, but our favourites all contained some kind of dairy or eggs.

Because we didn’t have enough red lentils to make all of the dahl recipe, Mr Gnoe was bold enough to think up an extra curry himself — you won’t catch me doing that when entertaining guests! But his green lentil dish was one of the best of the evening. :)

So far I prefer the Pakistani Dahl recipe we tried today over others I’ve had before, but I will be looking on to find the perfect one. I’m not talking Masoor Dahl SOUP here (I’ve got a great recipe for that), but the thicker kind of dish. Maybe I should let go of the thought it must be made with red lentils, since a lot of recipes I came across use yellow peas?

Cover World Food Cafe cookbook, Chris & Carolyn CaldicottThe aubergine and spinach/potato dishes came from the World Food Café cookbook, which I believe to have mentioned on Graasland before? The Calcutta eggplant (page 74) was nice and we will eat this again. But it doesn’t beat the spicy eggplant with yoghurt recipe from another one of my vegetarian cookbooks… :\

We thought the saag aloo (page 72) a bit dull, even though it was spicy. It tasted ‘bland’. I must confess I didn’t follow the instructions to the letter… Lacking fresh fenugreek leaves I substituted them with seeds, which of course is something entirely different. But I have never seen fenugreek leaves in the shops here and I do frequent Asian stores.

I also used yellow mustard seeds instead of black, but that doesn’t seem much of a problem to me — like taking frozen spinach (I couldn’t get any fresh as it is not in season). I also put in one tablespoon of red chili flakes instead of two and skipped the serrano chillies since I figured the meal would be hot enough already. I know, that’s a lot of changes to a not-so-elaborate recipe. Still, except for the fenugreek leaves I don’t think it mattered much concerning the taste.

Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures, but Wednesday’s bento contains leftovers!

BTW I didn’t know our common type of chili pepper is called serrano! Learned something new again. ;)

Menu Day 5 (Monday January 31st)

Vegan Mushroom Soup (freezer stash)

Breakfast
I started the day with ‘sterrenmix‘ herbal tea and 2 slices of crispbread:

  1. Tofutti ‘cream cheese’ spread with avocado, sundried tomato (in oil), alfalfa sprouts, African Peper mix.
    Too many tastes thrown together.
  2. Tartex olivera.

Lunch
I had an elaborate lunch to compensate for my small breakfast. It was very nice but wouldn’t be easy to bring along to work… I definitely need a bento box with Thermos container! :)

  • Homemade vegan mushroom soup (freezer stash).
    I made this soup so long ago that I can’t remember where the recipe came from… Well, plenty of those on the Web! ;)
  • Veganaise-avocado-tomato-basil sandwich with salt & pepper.
  • Tartex olivera sandwich with slices of celery stalk, radish, a pinch of alfalfa sprouts, parsley and salt.
  • Salad garnish: more tomato & celery.
  • Golden mandarin‘ green tea.

Dinner
Soy mozzarella 'cheese'For dinner we had homemade pizza (store-bought crusts), salad of chicory, apple & walnut, and water with lime juice for drinks. For the pizzas we prepared a seasoned sauce of canned tomato, shallots and garlic, which was spread on two pizza crusts. We used some Yaks soy mozzarella ‘cheese’ on both for topping. The rest of the ingredients differed.

  1. Grilled vegetables (courgette, eggplant, brown mushrooms) and green olives.
  2. Kale & rocket stir-fried with oyster mushrooms and spring onions.

The grated mozzarella looked good on the pizzas, but I’m not sure it added anything to the taste. Well, the crunchy part of it was good! ;)

Lime soy yoghurtDessert consisted of Provamel lime soy yoghurt with pineapple juice. It tasted too much after soy for my liking, but Mr Gnoe was pleasantly surprised. We don’t eat desserts that often and Mr Gnoe especially doesn’t like custard (and such) very much. About the soy yoghurt he said it was better than any kind of dairy dessert he knew! Not that he now wanted to eat it regularly after meals, but it is a positive remark, right? He also didn’t think the ‘greasy’ soy taste predominated. So that’s just me. ;)

Snacks

Menu Day 6 (Tuesday February 1st)

Time flies. It’s February already (can you believe it?!) and I’m in the second half of my 10 day vegan period. I’m almost sad it’s going so fast!

Breakfast
Oat milkFor breakfast I had oatmeal with ground flax seeds, 1/2 part Oat Dream and 1/2 part soy milk. This was a better concoction than just the oat & oat milk like I had on Day 1 of ExtraVeganza! The fat in soy milk makes the gruel a little creamier. I had a busy morning with groceries, dentist and dental hygienist appointments and this meal held me on my feet until my lunch break at noon.

Lunch
I had to have a quick — and not too heavy — meal before going to shiatsu. I threw together 2 easy sunflower seed sandwiches (a new bread I had just bought) and drank a cup of green rooibos tea.

  1. Tartex olivera spread with green olives.
  2. Tofutti ‘cream cheese’ with gherkin and tomato.

Dinner
Mr Gnoe made us dinner.

  • (Leftover) long-grain rice with celery leaves.
  • ‘Buddhist meat’ and shiitake mushrooms from World Food Café cookbook (page 121) that we also used for our Indian Sunday dinner.
  • Improvised stir-fry of Brussels sprouts and red pepper.
  • A handful of emping (melinjo nut krupuk).
  • Water for drinks.

Snacks
From lunch till dinner I had several snacks. Listed in alphabetical order ;)

  • Banana.
  • Blood orange/mandarin juice.
  • Crispbread with kale pate (tapenade) from my cooking class.
  • Cup of vegetable broth.
  • Ontbijtkoek with soy margarine and agave syrup.
  • Raw veggies: celery stalk, cucumber, radishes.

Anything special about today?

You bet! I found a vegan bread type I really like — even better than the one I normally buy and of which I’m not sure (yet) whether it’s vegan! My new find is Flemish whole wheat bread with sunflower seeds and I bought it at the Natuurvoedingswinkel (natural foods shop) in the Nachtegaalstraat. That’s a bit further away than my neighbourhood bakery so I’ll need to plan well ahead if we don’t want to run out of bread. Maybe the shop will set some apart, if requested? I also don’t know yet how the loaf will hold up after it has been frozen, but that will be clear in a few days.

This discovery makes me really happy because I have always been picky about bread. In the same store I also finally found a vegan ontbijtkoek; up until now all varieties I saw contained honey.

Tonight’s dinner served to have another try at seitan or ‘fake meat’ (wheat gluten). I’ve had canned mock-duck before. After I had eaten a fabulous Vietnamese dish with the stuff on a trip to the US, I searched for mock-duck in my own country for several years. When I had finally found it, it was nothing like I had expected — I even shuddered of the sight and texture! Seitan in a glass jar appears to be less scary (you can actually see what you’re buying ;) so a few months ago I brought it home with the World Food Café recipe in mind. But it’s totally different from the seitan we made ourselves in Happy Herbi’s Eat Good, Feel Good cooking class!

I liked the ‘Buddhist meat’ and shiitake mushrooms dish — and liked the wheat gluten, but didn’t feel it added much except maybe texture. We’re reluctant to bring any more new ingredients into our home, so we tweaked the recipe and substituted shaoxing rice wine with sake; ketjap manis for hoisin sauce. Other ingredients were carrot, ginger, garlic, green onions, light soy sauce, sesame oil & seeds. Those are all things we usually have in stock so we’ll probably make this meal again!

Day 6 was definitely Discovery Day. ;)

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