Thursday, 31 May 2018

OJ Seitan

I've just ordered a new stock of vital wheat gluten flour as I suddenly seem to be getting through it and my stocks are wavering on the low side.  One of the reasons is that I am back in my own kitchen, after a spell of being away in Kent, and so enjoying the time and the quiet creative chance to explore new recipes.  The other reason is that I have discovered the wonders of using oranges in cooking, particularly so with seitan.  

Using oranges isn't a new experience completely.  We've enjoyed a few tasty wonders whilst eating at our favourite restaurant Eurasia in Southern Portugal where Mila, the resident goddess of Portuguese fusion food, has employed the very accessible orange as an ingredient in a few of her buffet dishes, including a seitan one.  Quite why it took so long to explore the orangey possibilities myself is beyond me.  It took a browse through a free Waitrose newspaper, and a chance upon a far from vegan recipe, to have me putting oranges on my shopping list as a savoury recipe ingredient rather than a sweet treat.  The recipe involved chicken but I had the ability to look beyond that and think seitan instead. Coupled with fennel and the seitan, the recipe involved only a few other ingredients including orange juice and zest, olives, mustard, and thyme.  In fact here is the recipe (although it pains me to include a link to a non vegan recipe) and I implore Waitrose to include in their 'Cook's Tips' at the bottom a vegan alternative.  It doesn't involve that much compassionate imagination after all.  

The recipe was a little 'off piste' for us mostly for the fact that it involved the little used oranges, but also involved mustard; an ingredient I am fond of but Phil is a little dubious of.  I'm gradually introducing it more and more in the hope that it will infiltrate his life in the same way that California and Brittany did.  When I announced to Phil a few years ago that I wanted to revisit California he was reluctant; an artificial impression of Americans and American life emblazoned on his mind.  I insisted it wasn't like that and as it was my birthday pulled the ace card out on him and we went.  He loved it.  Same with Brittany.  His impression of the French was a meat loving, English hating nation; a misconception I was determined to dissolve.  I have the advantage of being able to communicate reasonably well with our French neighbours (after all I am of French Canadian decent) and I have immense respect for the French pride (misinterpreted as arrogance).  A few beautifully baked French baguettes,  bottles of amazing French wine, spotlessly presented French villages and polite smiling French exchanges later, he was sold.  Now he asks me when we can return.  Mustard is taking a little longer, French or not.  Anyway, I digress.  I completely blame that on the amazing bottle of French Beaujolais I am currently drinking.  

Seitan boiled but yet to be marinated and baked
Despite the mustard the veganised version of the tray bake was greatly enjoyed.  The orange added a really different and fresh taste dimension to the dish and so I decided to explore further.  The one session of basic seitan making had provided enough for three meals as it turned out.  There are multiple recipes for seitan available online or in cook books so search out any of these and experiment (a quick search of our own blog will reveal many of our experimentations!).  The one I've used recently was printed in the latest Viva magazine as Seitan Chicken Poppers  but I stopped short of deep frying as per the recipe as we tried that and just found that too greasy.

I then happened upon a recipe from my treasured Native Foods Restaurant Cookbook (many a happy meal in Palm Springs led me to buy this a few years ago).  It was a Moroccan style marinade to make Moroccan steaks from seitan.  Just perfect it was, and very quick to make before applying to the already made seitan pieces.  Obviously I cannot just repeat the recipe here for copyright reasons.  However, I just found the exact same recipe (Rockin' Moroccan Marinade) online so follow the link to jazz up your home made seitan, or tofu, or tempeh to get that orangey summery hit.  I marinated my seitan for a few hours then baked for about 30 minutes at 200 degrees C.  There was even enough marinade to store and repeat a few days later.  

Get orangey and enjoy!

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Cornish Vegan Markets

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For a couple of years now I had been talking to Phil about starting a regular vegan market in our village hall.  Unfortunately family events in this time had given me neither the energy or the time to pursue this.  Then about a year ago a regular monthly market sprang up in the village hall.  Although not totally vegan, the vibe and options were sufficient for us to make regular visits.  Then lo and behold, recently news came to me from a friend of a totally vegan market at our village hall, literally a few doors along from our house.  It can't get any better than that.  Our dream had come true!

Hosted by Vegan Events Cornwall, the first vegan market is this Saturday 12th May, and it looks like there are plans for this to be a regular event.  With proceedings kicking off at 2pm and running till 5pm, expect vegan goodies, a zero waste shopping section, hot food, a 100% vegan bar and activities to keep the kids happy.  For more details, including how to get there, please visit the Cornish Vegan Markets Facebook Events page.  As it says in the image above, please do check for details of changes on the events page too, including for future venues in Cornwall.

Sadly I am unable to go this Saturday, entrenched as I am with more family priorities at the other end of the country.  However, Phil I am sure will represent me in spirit and food consumption and I very much look forward to enjoying future Cornish Vegan Markets, wherever they may be in Cornwall.