Now we all love a bit of sauce to flavour up a dish (well I do) and most of the time its easy to just grab a bottle from the supermarket shelf. I admit I don’t always make my own sauces but what we don’t realise is it can be oh so simple. Usually we will have the necessary ingredients laying in cupboard or fridge, tomato puree, soy sauce, garlic, paprika,oregano,maple syrup,chili powder and Apple cider vinegar. Okay okay maybe you only have a few but you catch my drift, so grab your ingredients, a bowl, a few spoons and get mixing…..
You’re probably thinking what on earth is that stuff up there, as much as I like to share with you my food successes I also want to show you the food mishaps.
That funny looking stuff you see above is called Tempeh, it is made from soy beans that go through a fermentation process which binds the beans together, they then end up in a firm burger patty form.
So I first tried Tempeh from The Cinnamon Snail on a sandwich when I was in New York back in February. I remember it being soft, nice bite to it and VERY tasty, I really enjoyed it couldn’t wait to try it out back home. So five months later it was time to give it a whirl, so I picked up a block from my local wholefood store.
Defrosted as directed and decided I was going to lightly fry it then marinate it in a peanut sauce and bake. I am pretty good when it comes to new ingredients, and there isn’t much that I haven’t liked or not turned out quite right.
Tempeh oh Tempeh where did we go wrong!!!
Now without telling you every detail boring you and putting you off even trying Tempeh at the same time, lets just say that it isn’t how I remembered. It was nuttier and more earthy than I recall but I do think that it needed to be cooked in an alternative way to that softness. It seemed quite dry and my lovely peanut sauce didn’t compliment it at all. I may not revisit tempeh but glad I experimented with it.
For those of you who are new to soy products I would say to start of with tofu. As it is easy to handle, takes on flavour very well and is available in supermarkets.
I shall be going back to my faithful tofu, for those of you who want to try tofu, want to learn how to get tofu PERFECT and haven’t had a good experience with it previously stay tuned for the next post!!
Trial and error
I have always had a thing for pizza and I even worked at Pizza Hut for five years as a waitress, the combo of dough, sauce, cheese and topping is just very satisfying. Since embarking on my health journey (started January 2013) and then my vegan journey I have tried to cut out the middle man. As you know I believe in having your cake and eating it so I like to create things myself, I have had pizza from places but there is something very satisfying about homemade pizza. I started making my own pizza bases back in 2013 with wheat flour they were okay did the job but not perfect but when I think back they were nothing like they are now. I then started to create a gluten free pizza base they would be misshapen,break, stick and just be a hot mess but since time has gone on I have mastered the PIZZA.
So by now y’all must know that I live to create and inspire so it is essential that I am equip with the right ingredients to get the perfect results. In my kitchen experiments when it comes to baking I have played around with different flours for my baked goods. My mission to bake not only vegan but also gluten free you could kind of say is virtually complete. I have four flours which I find so useful to have in kitchen so let me introduce you to my friends first up is……..
BROWN RICE FLOUR
This little whole grain is probably one the flours I am using a lot more and is definitely one of my staples as it is great mixed with other flours and is gluten free. I use this flour when it calls for wheat and as it can be quite dry I will cut it with a flour with more moisture to it. Not only is this flour high in protein but the vitamin B and fibre levels have a good presence. I would typically use this flour in my brownies, cakes, breads and savory baked goods.
One of my faves as oats themselves can be used for so many things, I have called it flour because you can use it whole and it expands or you can grind it down to make the grain finer. I use oats as they add moisture and bounce to my baked goods, whether its porridge, cookies, granola, breads, cakes or pancakes the list goes on. Oats are safe for people who need to eliminate gluten from their diet but just bear in mind that they are usually handled in factories that produce wheat and rye products. Also oats contain a protein which is similar to gluten called avenin, but is said to be safe for Coeliacs to eat (coeliac.org.uk). All in all oats are pretty amazing, high in fibre, stabilizes the blood sugar and keeps you full.
Chickpea flour I have been using for quite a while now and I tend to dip in and out of using it. Initially it took a little bit of getting used to as it can easily end in a big mess if not used correctly. I use chickpea flour for besan omelette, flat bread and in my gluten free pizza base. It is a high source of protein and is quite a moist flour when cooked so not too much liquid should be used. This flour can be used in baked dishes also but I have yet to experiment further.
Now I was going to say that this is probably my fave but to be honest they all are because they all serve a purpose in my everyday cooking. Buckwheat flour can be quiet dense if you not use properly and it is very similar to wheat flour as it is quite stretchy. Now to clear it up for those that don’t know, Buckwheat is not related to wheat and it is actually a seed related to sorrel and rhubarb. So this means its is gluten free and safe for Coeliacs to consume, but as always check the source you get it from. Buckwheat flour is a good source of magnesium, I use buckwheat flour in my pancakes and when I make dumplings.
There are a few more flours that I could of listed but these I feel are the essentials and I want to give you tried and tested information, as I have yet to experiment with the other flours. You can stock up on these flours as most of them you can easily grab from the supermarket (chickpea flour & oat flour (oats). Buckwheat flour and brown rice flour you can get from wholefood shops or just go to your local Holland & Barrett if you live in the UK.
These are always good to have in your kitchen when you feel like whipping something up. So grab you some gluten free flours and get playing :)
I shall be putting up recipes for you to try featuring these ingredients so hang tight!!
But to get you started check out my pancakes recipe
The kitchen is your playground CREATE MAGIC!!!
I know I know I made y’all dribble… if you don’t know already pancakes are my THANG its my Saturday morning brekkie that will never get old. Good, healthy, tasty, nutritious and creative food doesn’t have to be boring or complicated. Seeming as I have my recipe on point I wanted share with y’all my simple recipe so you can get making them and ENJOY. These can be made anytime and in as little as 15 minutes, these pancakes only require 5 to 6 ingredients depending on what you flavour fancy. This recipe is my latest one but I do switch it up so feel free to add your own twist!!
Hey y’all just stopping by to give you my tasty, filling and nutritious alternative for a typical burger patties. The powerhouse of this recipe are Pinto beans which are not only a great fiber source but they are packed with iron, B vitamins, folate, magnesium and manganese. They also give you energy and stabilize the blood sugar which we most definitely need on the daily. So enough chit chat lets get to making these tasty thangs…..
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So a few weeks ago I set off on a big adventure which was a long time dreamt of, worked towards and finally fulfilled. As you may know I am a BIG foodie and of course FOOD is going to be a big part of wherever it is that I may travel. So when I was knew I was going to New York it was definitely a MUST to find some cool, tasty and unique vegan places for you to check out. A fellow vegan foodie and blogger recommended a lil food truck called “The Cinnamon Snail” after checking them out I wrote down on my list of places to visit whilst in NY!!
The Cinnamon Snail is an organic vegan food truck that serves sandwiches, sweet stuff and dinner to NYC & NJ. Not only do they pop up on the streets of New York serving food to die for, they also cater for events, pop ups and provide cakes made to order.
If you want to track down The Cinnamon Snail truck they announce where they will be parked on Twitter/Facebook, I personally love this idea as it build suspense and it means that you go and seek them. So Sunday morning it was time for to go and find them as I was dying to try their yummy things on offer. As I was now a pro at finding my way in NYC I found them easy enough so I set my hungry and excited eyes upon the menu.
Just one problem though WHAT DO I HAVE!!!
You see back in England I am so used to having to piece together food whilst out and most of the time only have one or two choices. Any vegan will tell you that choices are limited most of the time, so when faced with a whole menu its BIG decision time.
Okay so it was still quite early and even though I am a bread lover I try to keep bread/wheat out of my diet. I decided I was going for one of the sarnies (sandwiches) I can’t remember the last time I had a tasty one. So after I asked the audience, phoned a friend and 50/50 I said right I would like the Maple mustard tempeh with kale, tomato, onion and garlic aioli I’m sorry but that sound AMAZING or is it just me. So of course with all the sweet things shouting heyyyy to me it would be rude to not take some, so I had a apple cider doughnut.
Can I just say I would fly back right now for one of those sandwiches they are FABULOUS!!!
The spelt bread was nice and light not too heavy, the tempeh was cooked perfectly and the flavour of the garlic aioli with the kale PERFECTO!!! The apple cider doughnut was something I wouldn’t usually go but it was the besttttt. I literally went round the corner and sat on a step and ate because I knew that if I really enjoyed I would want more, so I didn’t go too far.
So guess what when I was done I went straight back and ordered another sandwich the Thai BBQ tempeh with argula, roasted peanuts and sriracha mayo. I also had a cinnamon snail and coconut doughnut, these were to take back home and eat for lunch the next day.
Lets take a moment to appreciate this wedge of deliciousness……
I love spicy food so this Thai BBQ tempeh sarnie was right up my alley I think the picture says it all!!
Unfortunately I not long found out that they are shutting off their flavour packed engine, sad to see them go but I know they will transform into something even greater.
So The Cinnamon Snail all I can say is that I love the food,I am inspired by their ideas and I will definitely be recreating with my own twist of there delicious sandwiches ASAP!! But if y’all could just drive to England that would b great haha!!
Explore, live, eat and share!!