Liverpool Pt. II

My second day in Liverpool started with a nice breakfast at Brasco Lounge. They have an entirely separate vegan menu, and I ended up settling on their vegan breakfast plate. This was my first time trying baked beans since getting to Britain, and I was pleasantly surprised that I liked these. I usually find the American kind much too sweet. I’m more of a fan of savory breakfasts, so this hearty plate was right up my alley.

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The restaurant was conveniently located near the Liverpool Museum, which is a great free (!) place to explore. The best part for me was their large exhibit on the history and movement of transgender people.

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Albert Dock is also nearby and holds a few entertaining things to see. My favorite of which was the giant Echo Wheel. Although I’m not a huge fan of heights, I rode it anyway and had a great time being terrified on the squeaky ride.

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While wandering around the dock, I was drawn into a candy shop due to their amazing jelly bean portrait of The Beatles. Inside, I found some vegan vanilla Liverpool candy canes, which my inner tourist insisted I try.

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As a bonus: here’s a yarnbombing I saw at St. John’s Gardens.

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ESSENTIAL Biscuits (Vegan MoFo #8)

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5-27-2010-lord-sunday-by-garth-nixSince Lord Sunday (the book which inspired the below recipe), is the last book of seven in the Keys to the Kingdom series, I’ll be reviewing the first book, Mister Monday by Garth Nix, to avoid spoilers.

Keys to the Kingdom is a series about Arthur Penhaligon, a twelve year old boy who through a seemingly random accident is chosen to become the Rightful Heir of the House (the center of the universe). Controlling the House are the corrupt Morrow Days, who are each afflicted by one of the deadly sins. The Morrow Days are: Mister Monday, Grim Tuesday, Drowned Wednesday, Sir Thursday, Lady Friday, Superior Saturday, and Lord Sunday.

Arthur soon learns that the Architect (creator of the House and “secondary realms”) left a Will which was unfulfilled. Not long afterwards, a mysterious virus begins sweeping through his town in the secondary realm. Knowing that this is the work of the Morrow Days, Arthur must go into the House to search for a cure. There he learns that to save his town, and the House itself, he must defeat the Morrow Days and release the imprisoned pieces of the Will . Through his journey, Arthur meets Suzy Turquoise Blue, a clever and capable girl who, along with all the other “Piper’s children”, was drawn to the House by the Pied Piper. Suzy holds a current piece of the Will, which has manifested itself as a talking frog. With his two odd allies in tow, Arthur must work to defeat the torpid Mister Monday and stop the spreading virus before it’s too late.

” “Have a biscuit, General,” said one of the children, reaching into the barrel, which was stuffed to the brim with biscuits. Since neither Denizens nor Piper’s children needed to eat, but liked to do so anyway, it was surprising that the barrel was marked ESSENTIAL GOODS FOR EVACUATION.

Suzy took the raisin-filled biscuit with glee and, between mouthfuls, introduced everyone.” – Lord Sunday (hardcover) page 145

I’ve never actually had a sweet biscuit (only savory), but these were amaaaazing.

raisin biscuit

Essential Cinnamon Raisin Biscuits

Based on a recipe from Food.com

Ingredients

1 cup raisins

1 cup water

2 cups soymilk

1 tablespoon lemon juice

4 cups self rising flour, or 4 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons baking powder mixed together

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup shortening

3 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup powdered sugar

3 and 1/2 teaspoons soymilk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Set oven to 400 degrees.

Boil water and pour over raisins, then cover and set aside. Mix the 2 cups of soymilk with lemon juice, set aside.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Cut shortening into the flour mixture (either using a fork or pastry blender) until crumbly and fine.

Mix in soymilk and drained raisins, then stir in cinnamon.

With a large greased spoon dollop out the biscuit dough onto a greased baking sheet.

Bake for 10-15 minutes.

While the biscuits cool, mix together the powdered sugar with vanilla and 3 and 1/2 teaspoons of soymilk until a glaze is formed. Drizzle over cooled biscuits and let sit until the glaze hardens.

Breakfast of Witch Fighting Champions (Vegan MoFo #3)

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The Last Apprentice – Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney is about Tom Ward, a young seventh son of a seventh son who is apprenticed to the local Spook. Spooks are fighters of the dark who battle witches, ghosts, boggarts, demons, and even the Fiend himself. As Tom starts his apprenticeship, he learns about all the things that go bump in the dark. His learning focuses on witches especially since they are quite common in this area. There are blood witches, who like to drain blood for ceremonies and occasionally drink it, and also bone witches, who will cut off the thumbs of enemies for spells. The Spook warns Tom that the easiest way to identify a disguised witch is by her pointy shoes.

One day, during an errand run into town, Tom meets a young girl named Alice. She seems fairly harmless and nice, but there’s one problem. She wears pointy shoes. Despite this, Tom has a hard time believing the girl could be capable of harming anyone. Since he has no friends since moving in with the Spook, he decides to befriend the girl.

Soon the Spook has to travel due to a job in another town. He leaves Tom in charge of the house, and promises to be back within a few days. Almost immediately, things take a turn for the worst. It’s not long before Alice is back, and Tom has a promise to keep to her. Through trying to keep his word and an unfortunate beginner’s mistake, Tom releases one of the most feared witches in the County, Mother Malkin. As she begins to terrorize him and his family, and without the wise guidance of the Spook, Tom must learn to fight the dark on his own.

“Yes,” I said “it was the very best breakfast that I’ve ever tasted. And I’m sorry for coming down too early and I promise that it won’t happen again.”

At that, the Spook grinned so much that I thought his face was going to split in two; then he clapped me on the back and led me out into the garden again.

It was only when we were outside that the grin finally faded. “Well done, lad,” he said. “There are two things that respond well to flattery: boggarts and some women. Gets them every time.” – The Last Apprentice – Revenge of the Witch (hardcover) pages 94-95

In the Spook’s home is a boggart that cooks, cleans, and protects the property. While it is a friendly boggart (most of which in the book are not), it does not like people coming down to breakfast early or insulting its cooking. The result is the offender either getting boxed in the ears or their food being burned. In honor of the boggart’s breakfasts, I’m made breakfast food for lunch today (since waking up early to cook an actual breakfast is over rated).

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Plated up is some cheesy tofu scramble (this tofu recipe with a handful of Daiya), Gimme Lean sausage patties, and a drop biscuit with strawberry preserves.

Sandwiches, Scones, and Game of Thrones

The weather was extremely nice last week, so Peter and I had a picnic at the park. There we munched on these grilled pizza sandwiches (which had pizza hummus and Daiya inside) and cucumber slices dipped in Italian salad dressing.
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I made a batch of Mom’s Chili, which I ate with crackers. I skipped using canned beans though, and cooked up some dried black beans and red beans the day before in the slow cooker. Then I mixed them with the rest of the ingredients to make the chili.

???????????????????????????????The next day the leftover chili was turned into a “Frito pie”. With layered crushed Frito corn chips and chili then smothered in healthy cheese sauce.

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Tomato-rosemary scones from Vegan Brunch. I’ve actually never baked scones before, but these were extremely easy to make and very delicious. My favorite way to have these is warmed up with a pat of margarine in the middle.
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Soft tacos with Upton’s Naturals chorizo seitan, Daiya pepper jack, lettuce, and tomatoes. It was my first time trying the Upton’s seitan. I really liked the taste and texture of it, but the small amount of seitan per package for a fairly high price (at least at my local Earth Fare) was not worth it.
???????????????????????????????“Chicken” parmesan, made with soy-tan dream cutlets from 1,000 Vegan Recipes (which I breaded and pan-fried), with melted Daiya mozzarella, all on top of spaghetti in a creamy marinara sauce, and sprinkled with nutritional yeast.
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Lentil and veggie soup, which I mostly made because I needed to clean out my refrigerator’s produce drawer. It has lentils, onions, corn, carrots, tomatoes, green beans, peas, potatoes, and lima beans which were all cooked in a garlic tomato broth.

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For our three-year anniversary, Peter got me (along with a few other things) The Unofficial Game of Thrones Cookbook. I’m a big fan of the television show and hope to begin reading the books soon, so I was super excited to have these recipes based on the series.

Our local gaming group is actually starting a GoT roleplaying campaign, so for our session I made Arya’s Apricot Tart to share. Except there are no fresh apricots available around here, so we settled for peaches. To veganize the recipe I subbed Earth Balance for butter, coconut milk for heavy cream, and I used this recipe for the crust. It turned out delicious with a flaky crust, juicy peaches, and buttery crumble topping. I can’t wait to try more recipes from the cookbook.

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Summer Snacks

I have only been back home for a week and half, and I am already incredibly bored. School starts back at the end of August though, so I can survive for that long. But all this free time gives me a chance to cook good meals and try new recipes. Here are some of the things I’ve been munching (or slurping) on the past week:

Cape Breton corncakes (recipe) for breakfast! Little cakes made with creamed corn, flour, saltines, salt, and pepper. Super yummy.

The ultimate Southern dinner. Gardenburger BBQ riblets, mashed potatoes, and fresh corn on the cob.

Vanilla bean frappuccino (made vegan with soymilk and no whipped cream) from Starbucks. It’s so flippin’ hot here, I couldn’t resist getting a giant cold drink like this.

 Peter’s family made an awesome dinner Friday, with grilled Boca burgers, broccoli, and other yummy stuff. Check out the adorable ’60s plate, part of his mother’s collection.

And lastly, I made seitan for the first time in a loooong time. It’s based on the basic seitan recipe from Table for Two, but I added some original Mrs. Dash and chicken bouillon.

I tried to make semi-uniform nuggets with a biscuit cutter. The nuggets were then dipped in a cornstarch/water mixture and breadcrumbs. I then fried them and served the finished (and delicious) nuggets with dipping sauces and stuffed potato skins.

Biscuits & Beans

Since gas prices suck nowadays, I am trying to drive less places or at least not as far for things I can find nearby. So that means I am using our local Lucky’s grocery store for most of my ingredients, which forces me to rely on less processed foods (Boca patties, Vegenaise, etc.) and more on regular stuff.

The cookbook Table for Two is helping with this, because most of the recipes use common ingredients, plus the small quantities from the recipes make it where I am not forced to eat leftovers by myself for a week.

One of the recipes I used from the book was for whole wheat biscuits, but I subbed all-purpose flour for the wheat. These lovely little drop biscuits took less than 20 minutes from start to finish, and were delicious. I ate some with Earth Balance and strawberry jam for breakfast this morning.

Although it’s getting really hot outside, I am still eating a lot of hot food. I started swimming twice a week, and after getting out of the pool I am cold and wanting something filling. Chili is the answer! This particular chili had Navy and pinto beans and TVP. I actually ate this with some of the leftover biscuits and it was fantastic. This shall be my lunch for the next few days.

For dinner today I had a marinated bean and corn salad. I took a can of black beans, a can of corn, freshly chopped tomatoes, and let it marinate for a while in the fridge with Kraft mango chipotle dressing. I then put it on a bed of baby spring lettuce with crushed Fritos. The mango chipotle dressing was just okay, the mango taste seemed a bit artificial to me. But to not waste so much food, I just loaded on some salsa and the salad was saved.

The Vegg – a Review and a Recipe

The lovely people over at the Vegg sent me a sample of their product, the world’s first vegan egg yolk, to review. I was super excited because I had seen some of the dishes made with their product and it all looked yummy, plus the company seems to have a good heart since 10% of their net sales are donated to Compassion Over Killing.

Once it arrived in the mail, I made the one eggy thing I had really been missing since going vegan, scrambled eggs. Sure, tofu scramble is good and all, but still not the same thing. I followed the Vegetarian Recipe Club’s recipe for the scramble, using only 3/4 cup of water and minus the green onions, and then to make it similar to my pre-vegan dishes I threw in a sprinkle of Daiya cheddar and chopped Light Life “bacon”.

It was SO GOOD. I cannot emphasis how delicious this was and creepily similar to eggs. The texture of the tofu was eggy, but the flavor of the Vegg was what made it all stand apart from a traditional tofu scramble. After making this, I decided that even if every other dish I made was a failure, this made it worth buying.

I know that the Vegg boasts many uses to replace egg yolk and even has a spherification method, but since I never liked egg yolks in my omnivore days, I will not be reviewing that use of the product.

But the next way I used the product was to make a Vegg patty, which I made by mixing 3 tbsps of Vegg powder, 1 cup of water, and 1/2 cup of flour. I then cooked them like pancakes, using a oiled skillet and flipping them over once bubbles began to rise on the surface. The patties were then put onto an open faced English muffin with some Vegenaise, tomato slices, and chives. These were very yummy and reminded me of a good version of the uber-processed egg patties that are used in sandwiches at fast-food joints. These patties would be fantastic in a biscuit with a little margarine.

And the last thing I made with the Vegg was my own recipe! The recipe is for Vegg breakfast bites, kinda like a quick thing to grab in the morning if you don’t have time to sit down and eat. Plus since these babies pack 6 grams of protein per muffin, it’s a filling way to start off your day.

Vegg Breakfast Bites

Makes 10 muffin sized “bites”

Ingredients:

14 oz. firm tofu

1 cup cooked quinoa

3 tbsps Vegg powder

3/4 cup water

2 tsps minced garlic

1/2 tsp of each: onion powder, black pepper, and salt

1/2 cup chopped vegan bacon (I used Light Life bacon style strips)

1/4 cup loosely packed chopped basil

Directions

Preheat your oven to 400º.

In a food processor, blend the Vegg and water, then slowly add in pieces of the tofu until a smooth texture is achieved.

Put the tofu/Vegg mixture into a bowl and mix in the rest of the ingredients.

Grease a muffin tin and pour the mix into the pan, and it should make about 10 breakfast bites.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, checking for done-ness by an inserted toothpick coming out clean.

Let them cool, then enjoy! These are surprisingly good with dipping sauces, I enjoyed mine this afternoon with some ketchup and “honey mustard” dip.

So all in all, I would definitely recommend trying the Vegg. It is fantastic scrambled, fried, baked, or cooked many other ways. Check out the Vegg’s website for information on where to it is available in your area.