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Cookery - Ed's journal
So, tonight I cooked something in that kitchen for the first time ... well, in quite some time. Unless you count toasties as 'cooking', which is a bit of a stretch.

Vegetarian sausage and mash:
A handful of desiree potatos, some butter, some cream.
A bit of cheese.
And some chopped up slices of veggie bacon.

Sausages were some cumberland, and also some cheese and tomato.

Was topped off with some sauce stuff that came in a packet, for sausage casserole. (But not the other sausage casserole sauce, which whilst it looked nice, also included worcestershire sauce, which is not vegetarian).

Veggie bacon is bacon flavour soy protein stuff. It's ok, but ... wasn't overly enthused - mostly because unlike 'real' bacon, it didn't have any juice to flavour mashed potato with. So anyway. It's like fake bacon, therefore I figure I'll refer to it henceforth as 'facon'.

Anyway, the cheese ... don't think I used enough. Or maybe I just shouldn't have bothered, and gone with garlic or chives or something.

Sausage wise... I have to say I find the 'not even trying to pretend to be meat' sausages more satisfactory - maybe it's just my perspective is odd, but ... I found the cheese and tomato sausages to be 'better' than the 'almost cumberland sausages, but vegetarian'.

Anyway, figure it mostly worked. Sausages were a bit overcooked (protip - meat sausages are much juicier, and much more important to 'cook through'. Vegetarian sausages are pretty much cooked already.).

And finished it off with a sainsburies new york vanilla cheesecake, which was just too sweet.

I have to say, you can do a decent dish that's vegetarian, it's just ... almost no where seems to bother. Speaking for myself, I find a dish that's made with meat as a central concept just doesn't work as well if you take the meat out and put in a vegetarian replacement. But I don't actually have a huge problem with stuff that ... well, does it from the ground up as it were. If you've ever been to Habibi you'll know what I mean, as there it's quite possible to eat a full meal of vegetarian dishes, and you won't even realise. Pretty much everywhere else seems to have started from 'well, I suppose we'd better cobble something together that's vaguely edible'.

I've got a vague notion of a goats cheese and caramelized onion tart that I figure would work, but might need a bit of practice - with onion you need to be fairly careful that it doesn't end up too sweet. And already did a risotto sort of thing, which... took the basic recipe, swapped the beef stock for vegetable stock, and used stuff like peppers and onions as the primary flavour focus.

Am also thinking about stir fry type stuff, perhaps with some decent tofu - as far as I can tell, tofu is one of these substances that is shockingly bland, which means it takes flavours quite well, if you bother to flavour it, and otherwise it's just some bland in your food. Which again, just seems a bit of a waste of time.


5 comments or Leave a comment
From: linamishima Date: October 13th, 2009 10:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
You can get pre-marinaded tofu, which works wonderfully in a stir-fry. You can also marinade it yourself.

The important thing to remember to do is to squeeze the water out of tofu blocks before use, don't use too big blocks, and don't let it get too sodden for too long. I also prefer frying it more to crisp up the outside, which needs a surprisingly long period of time.
ehrine From: ehrine Date: October 13th, 2009 11:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
My mum used to make a wonderful spinach flan. I'd never been a fan of spinach, and it looked disgustingly green when I first saw it, but I ended up having seconds (and thirds). If you like, I'll see if I can acquire the recipe.
erjholton From: erjholton Date: October 14th, 2009 03:24 am (UTC) (Link)
I find a dish that's made with meat as a central concept just doesn't work as well if you take the meat out and put in a vegetarian replacement.

Speaking as a lifelong vegetarian, I completely agree with this. There are plenty of good recipes that aren't based in meat and are tasty and nutritious. One example is the aubergine and green pepper flan my mother makes, or baked green peppers stuffed with quinoa and goat cheese.

Oh yes, http://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Cook-Everything-Vegetarian-Meatless/dp/0764524836/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1255490477&sr=8-1 - that book has been fast becoming a go-to option for Mir and I when it comes to finding some interesting new options.
purp1e_magic From: purp1e_magic Date: October 14th, 2009 07:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Tofu is, as you say, quite bland. When done well, it's beautiful. Otherwise it's just filler. Paneer works a treat, though. You can buy it in most Indian grocery stores. Fried is best, but you can also crumble it or use it as stuffing. It's like tofu but with flavour.

I'm not keen on vegetarian meats. They taste fake. Quorn 'chicken' is OK, though, provided you don't expect it to taste anything like chicken.

Apart from that, a lot of the protien in vegetarian meals comes from lentils and pulses. If you're not keen on lentils and pulses, you can use lentil flour to sub out your 'starch' rather than than your 'meat'. Chick pea flour (gramme flour) makes good pancakes. Also, I use a lot of eggs to get that protein in.

If you're after an easy recipe, take 1 tin of mixed salad beans in vinegrette, 1 tin of red kidney beans in brine. Drain and chuck into a pan. Add spice (I usually use something called pav bhaji spice mix, but absolutely anything works) and eat it with bread rolls, ideally fried or toasted. It takes maybe 5 minutes to cook, but it';s really a decent meal.
jorune From: jorune Date: October 14th, 2009 10:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Do you see yourself as more of a vegetarian these days? If so what inspired the change?
5 comments or Leave a comment