Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Category: vegan (Page 1 of 3)

Aquafaba Meringue

I thought I would tell you about my latest vegan hack. I have tried, and failed at aquafaba meringues a few times (also aquafaba chocolate mousse), but yesterday’s attempt was my most successful. They were a little over baked, but they didn’t flop, stick, slide, burn or bubble into a lava mess and I think I know why.

For the first time ever I used the aquafaba from a can of Woolworths organic chickpeas, so there was no added salt, or stabiliser or anything else, just water. The aquafaba was gloopy, which is good, apparently.

All I did was whip the aquafaba, add a mix of castor and brown sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla essence, and bake for 1.5 hours on 120°c. Next time I will make the oven cooler.

Here is a pic of the last three.

Beautiful Cabbage Salad

I just made this beautiful vegan cabbage salad and it is too good not to share.

The ingredients are; a small baby cabbage, shredded, a sliced stick of table celery, sliced sugar snap peas, grated raw turnip, fresh sliced green chillies, a few sliced dates, a spoonful of cocoa nibs, and sunflower seeds. The dressing is olive oil, white vinegar and lemon juice, with salt and pepper. It is so fresh and good.

Off to eat it now.

Quinoa made Edible

I want to experiment with this idea of blogging some of my own very useful vegan hacks and I thought that the best place to start is with the mostly utterly tasteless but so nutritious  quinoa.

Most recipes call for the simple boiling of this magical legume and the only thing it can compete with in terms of tastelessness is tofu.

So, here is my quinoa hack.

I fry up onion in some olive oil (not a lot), add the quinoa, salt, pepper and sometimes even other dried herbs, and enough water to cover and then an added 10mm over the top, and add a Knorr veg stock pot. I bring it to the boil, then turn it down and let all the water absorb.

So, chop half an onion.

Fry it up in a little olive oil.

Add a cup of quinoa. (I like white, but red or black quinoa is good too)

Stir up the quinoa to coat it.

Add water to cover and a little extra (10mm).

These are the stock pots.

Bring to boil, then simmer slowly until water is absorbed and evaporated.

I don’t have more pics because I used it immediately after cooking. I made Yotam Ottolenghi’s quinoa and sweet potato salad, which is so delicious.

Please leave me feedback about this post.

Lemon Drizzle Cake Veganised

I really only have one cake recipe that I love and that I have made over the years. It uses fresh lemon and is the perfect combo of tart and sweet. Big Friendly nags for it and it is the one thing I miss as a vegan. The non vegan recipe relies heavily on butter and eggs, so I always imagined it would be a challenge to veganise, but it is very easy, and doesn’t need anything fancier than egg replacer.

Here is the vegan recipe, which is pretty easy to follow. The only thing that is vital is that you allow it the full baking time. Don’t test it with a prick because it will look done and might not be cooked all the way through.

Vegan Lemon Drizzle Cake

Ingredients

1 cup coconut oil

2 cups white sugar

2 cups flour

egg replacer to replace 4 whole eggs

vanilla extract or even just essence

100 ml lemon juice

2 tsp baking powder

salt

icing sugar and more lemon juice

What to do

Pre heat your over to 180. Grease and line a round or loaf baking tin. In your mixer, beat up the coconut oil and sugar until the granules have disappeared. Then add the vanilla essence and the egg replacer mixture. In another bowl, sift flour, salt and baking powder and slowly add to the wet mix along with the lemon juice. It ends up being quite a stiff mix. Scoop it into the tin and bake for 50 minutes. Don’t be tempted to take it out of the oven when it looks magnificent. Let it bake. When you do take it out, let it cool as you mix the icing sugar with lemon juice to a runny consistency. I like mine very tart. Then literally drizzle it over the cake and allow it to fall over the edges. Yum.

 

Vegan Musings

Yesterday my boet was in town and we went out for lunch. I chose Massimo’s in Hout Bay because I have never been and I know that they have an omni and special vegan menu. I had a most delicious vegan pizza (my only mistake was adding vegan cheese to it; horrible, unmelty coconut oil flavoured lumps) and everyone’s food was good. They even had a selection of vegan wines to choose from. I like that. It was all expensive. Eating out is expensive which is why I don’t do it that often.

It is so important for me that being a vegan isn’t about having to spend more money on food. Eating out is an absolute treat. Buying ingredients is not about buying expensive meat or dairy substitutes. In fact the only thing I don’t resent spending money on is cashew nuts, after discovering how they grow when I was in India.

Although I adore the brilliant sharing of information, recipes and advice on social media, the curse of belonging to Facebum vegan groups is that they can be both judgemental and snobby. This is a problem when vegans are trying to convince the average Joe that being a vegan is both accessible and affordable.

So when I am Facebum invited to a pop-up dining experience at R450 a head, or I read about a vegan high tea that costs the same as my weekly veggie purchase, I get a little antsy. When I read that soy milk is out and almond milk, at double the price is in, I do have a bit of a knee jerk response that omnis who might want to transition would find that off putting.

Big Friendly and I popped into De Waal Park on Saturday. I dragged him because I saw on Facebum that there was a vegan bake sale on and I wanted to support it. I want to support as many vegan initiatives as I can so that they continue to happen. I didn’t tell him that the teeniest crunchie and minute lemon poppyseed square cost R40. The poppyseed cake was ok. Big Friendly didn’t even remember to eat the crunchie I bought for him. It was too small to notice on the kitchen table.

And I am left feeling a little grumbly. This is what I think. Animal based protein is expensive. If a restaurant needs to ‘veganise’ a recipe they are leaving out the most expensive part of it. Vegan dishes cost less to make than omni ones. Soy milk costs only a teeny bit more than cow’s milk. Anything with cheese in should be more expensive, not less expensive than the non cheese version.

We vegans should be able to convince people that veganism is not a pastime for the well-heeled. But we need to demand that it is more affordable.

 

Vegan Lasagna Supreme

I spent the day cooking – a rare occurrence, but very successful. I made vegan kneidlach (matzo balls) in non-chicken soup, and then I made my first ever and definitely the best vegan lasagna. I scoured vegan lasagna recipes online and loved parts of them, but not the whole ones, and so I took the bits I liked from the recipes, adapted them, and combined them, and it was a total success.

I am going to try and write up the whole thing, and all the parts.

The parts

Italian tomato sauce, made from scratch, mushroom and spinach filling, cashew ‘cheese’, bechamel, lasagna sheets

  1. Tomato sauce

Ingredients – half onion chopped, clove of garlic, 1 fresh chilli, olive oil, dried thyme, sweet basil, oregano, 1 tin tomato puree, a small tub of tomato paste, water, a handful of fresh basil, balsamic vinegar, salt, black pepper

Fry the onion and garlic in a splash of olive oil, adding the dried herbs and chilli. Then add the tomato paste and stir before adding the tin of tomato puree (you can use a tin of whole tomatoes too), balsamic vinegar, half a tin of water, salt, pepper to taste. Cook on a medium heat until the sauce thickens slightly and bubbles. Then add chopped fresh basil and mix in.

2.  Mushroom and spinach filling

Ingredients – half a punnet of button mushrooms, a bunch (or packet) of spinach – washed, de-stemmed and shredded, half an onion, Italian dried herbs, clove of garlic, salt, pepper and lemon juice.

Fry the onion, garlic and herbs. Add the finely chopped mushrooms, and when golden, add the spinach, salt, pepper and lemon juice.

3. Cashew cheese

Ingredients  – 1 cup pre-soaked cashews, clove of garlic mashed, 3 tbsp olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice, 6 tbsp water and 3 tbsp nutritional yeast.

Blitz everything in a food processor until smooth.

4. Bechamel

Ingredients – 1.5 cups soya milk, 2 tbsp flour, 3 tbsp olive oil, salt pepper

Heat the olive oil and add the flour, whisking fast until smooth. Add the milk slowly, whisking all the time, over a medium heat. Stir until sauce thickens, adding salt and pepper to taste. When sauce is thick take it off the heat.

Build the lasagna by putting dry lasagna sheets down first, then layering mushroom and spinach, tomato sauce, bechamel and blobs of cashew cheese. Do this three times in this order, ending up with a béchamel and cheese top.

Bang into a preheated (180°) oven. I used a casserole dish with a lid, and I baked it for 40 minutes.

I have made myself a bit sick. I have eaten half that dish. So good. So amazingly good.

 

 

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