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On 12/12/2018 at 22:02, Mrs Horribleman said:

What on earth can we have for our 'roast'? I'm kind of tempted just do a fuck it and make toad in the hole with some nice veggie sausages and have that.

 

Anything anyone would recommend we look at? 

 

Look up Bosh's portobello mushroom wellington, I've made it the last two Christmases and it's a belter.

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That Wellington recipe did look properly fantastic. Possibly a little too much work for me, so I'm planning on making a shortcrust pastry pie with a chestnut, mushroom and leek filling. I'll just wing it recipe-wise because those 3 work together nicely, so I'd have to do something really daft to screw it up. I'm thinking a little mustard and marmite to boost the flavours a tad and the job should be a good'un. Maybe some finely chopped walnuts too, to add a little crunch.

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On ‎18‎/‎12‎/‎2018 at 20:56, Plums said:

That sounds bloody lovely @MarkN. I love chestnuts, I love walnuts, I love mushrooms, I love leeks and I love a pie.

I did make my pie. It was actually really good - surprisingly so, given how improvised a lot of it was. It ended up being mushroom, chestnut and walnut, with a little left over red pepper thrown in. No leek - I could only find absolute monsters that were far too big, so I used a couple of small red onions instead. Fried the onions until soft, added a couple of cloves of minced garlic, then chopped the mushies and pepper fairly finely and added them. I chopped a pack of pre-cooked chestnuts into nice chunky bits and threw them in, then added a fair whack of finely chopped walnuts. Once this had cooked out it looked a bit dry, so I added a splash of Jack Daniels for the hell of it, then a small squirt of tomato puree, a teaspoon of wholegrain mustard, and a teaspoon of marmite. It still looked dry, so I gambled on adding a good glug of oat milk to it and let that reduce until I was happy with it (I've not cooked with oat milk before, so I had no idea what to expect, but it behaved itself nicely). After tasting it I was worried it was a little sweet, so added a touch more salt, and a dash or two of lemon juice, but couldn't quite fix it. Happily I left it well alone, figuring that I could do more harm than good at this point. Let it cool, then filled a sheet of shop-bought pastry with it, by just heaping the filling on one half then folding the rest over as a lid (I would have liked to have made the pastry myself but just didn't have the time). I baked it on Christmas Eve, and then just heated it up on Christmas Day. As I say - it was genuinely really bloody good. My worries about it being too sweet were unfounded - it was super-savoury, really rich and earthy - an absolute winner.

 

In other news I decided yesterday to have a crack at Veganuary. It was a spur of the moment thing - I don't really go in for these type of things, but I want to lose a bit of weight (pizza is my nemesis), and I want to cut down my dairy consumption as much as possible, and learning some new recipes will help a lot, so the timing was right (almost*). I've eradicated all dairy but cheese from my own cooking already - so it's just a case of dropping that too for a while, and then being vigilant with ready-made products and eating out (I do very little of this though). Shouldn't be too tricky.

 

Anyone else giving it a go?

 

 

*I've got a fairly large quantity of cheese left in my fridge which I don't want to waste, so I'm going to try to polish it off by tomorrow, and then start Veganuary a day late (with cheese sweats and fever dreams, quite probably).

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I just popped into Marks and Sparks - it seems they've just launched a fair amount of Vegan products. There's a decent selection of sandwiches, wraps and the like for quick lunches - at least as much vegan stuff as vegetarian now. Likewise there was a range of ready meals and sausages and stuff. Some of it looks pretty good. I'm planning on cooking my own stuff as much as I can through the month, but bizarrely I feel like I'm a little spoiled for choice now if I want to buy something quick and easy.

 

Also popped into Holland & Barret for some Nutritional Yeast. I'm guessing veganism doesn't come with Xbox style achievements otherwise that would have triggered one right there and then. I haven't a clue what I'm going to do with it yet, but I've seen enough recipes that call for it, so I'm sure it'll come in handy.

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5 hours ago, MarkN said:

I just popped into Marks and Sparks - it seems they've just launched a fair amount of Vegan products. There's a decent selection of sandwiches, wraps and the like for quick lunches - at least as much vegan stuff as vegetarian now. Likewise there was a range of ready meals and sausages and stuff. Some of it looks pretty good. I'm planning on cooking my own stuff as much as I can through the month, but bizarrely I feel like I'm a little spoiled for choice now if I want to buy something quick and easy.

 

Also popped into Holland & Barret for some Nutritional Yeast. I'm guessing veganism doesn't come with Xbox style achievements otherwise that would have triggered one right there and then. I haven't a clue what I'm going to do with it yet, but I've seen enough recipes that call for it, so I'm sure it'll come in handy.

 

My favourite thing to do with nutritional yeast is vegan cheese sauce. There are tons of recipes but it's basically boiled potato & carrot with some garlic, mustard, nutritional yeast and optionally, kimchi for a bit of fermented flavour.  

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The interesting thing about the Greggs Vegan sausage roll is that the filling is quorn - which traditionally has not been vegan - I wonder what they are using as the binding agent.

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Although the majority of Quorn stuff still uses egg white or dairy ingredients, a fair selection of their products are now vegan, including some Cumberland sausages - they have a big green vegan logo on the front of the boxes. I guess Greggs are using those or something similar.

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I did the Jamie Oliver Vegan Lasagne from off the tele. It made enough for 6 people and was pretty damn nice. Especially if you like mushrooms. The cheese they used is the Koko cheddar block which I had not had before but they seemed to be suggesting on the show was the best they had tried. It had a very good cheddar texture and a nice mild taste. More than a few slices yielded the coconut taste you always get. Still pretty decent mind. 

 

https://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/pasta-recipes/romesh-ranganathan-s-epic-veg-lasagne/

 

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The new Vegan Range stuff in M&S looks amazing, has anyone tried it?

I had the Greggs Sausage roll the other day and it was good, I want them to make a Vegan Steak Bake though.

 

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Beyond meat, straight with mayonnaise tomato ketchup and gherkins and mustard are the best home made burgers I've ever had. And that includes meat ones. If you aren't vegan, adding a little bit of butter to the pan really helps. And make sure you lightly salt and pepper the patties veggie you fry them. 

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On 06/01/2019 at 11:33, Stopharage said:

 

Just a head’s up that is 99p on Kindle at the moment. Here.

 

Thanks, still 99p as I just picked it up, what a bargain!

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On ‎11‎/‎01‎/‎2019 at 22:52, Gaz said:

The new Vegan Range stuff in M&S looks amazing, has anyone tried it?

I had the Greggs Sausage roll the other day and it was good, I want them to make a Vegan Steak Bake though.

 

I do mean to try some of the M&S stuff - it does look good - but so far when I've been nearby I've not needed anything. Will make an effort to have a crack at something soon, and will report back. I've kept a few notes on things I've been trying during Veganuary. so will maybe write them up at some point...

 

A new thing I noticed today at work, and something I really wasn't expecting - vegan Croissants and Pain Au Chocolat at Sainsbury's. Not something I'm that bothered about personally, but if they're half decent that's got to be a good thing. (If they did a nice almond croissant I'd be all over it like a rash, mind - love an almond croissant when done well (Sainsbury's regular ones sadly aren't - really artificial and OTT almond taste - blech!). I'm hoping there's a slow uptake for the first batch or two, and then maybe I can pick some up super-cheap as an employee when they're just past sell-by-date, but I may give them a pop at full whack, if the mood takes me.

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I've been trying out quite a few of the M&S bits recently (and I've eaten so many greggs sausage rolls)

 

The "Dirty Fries" were one I was sceptical about, not a huge portion for the price and it's just patatas bravas really but it was very nice, probably the nicest thing I tried from the range.

 

The Margherita Pizza with the cauliflower "house sauce" is really good, surprisingly cheesy and overall a decent supermarket pizza.

 

Cashew Mac is good, I think it could do with a smidge more sauce but overall the flavour was there. I think my cheese sauce which I've posted about in here somewhere is better though.

 

Tikka Masala is really nice. Big chunks of "chicken" and a decent masala, just the right amount of spice and a good sauce to rice ratio.

 

Cauliflower Popcorn is great. This is something that is so easy to make at home but it's a messy process so these are good to just throw in the oven. Really crispy, could probably do with a creamy sauce as well as the spicy dip - I had some vegan mayo on the side.

 

 

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On ‎27‎/‎01‎/‎2019 at 12:00, Gaz said:

I've been trying out quite a few of the M&S bits recently (and I've eaten so many greggs sausage rolls)…

 

Cheers for the info. I saw the Dirty Fries and would have probably had a crack at them if it had been a bit more generous. Just a few more chips would have made all the difference. The only M&S thing I've tried so far is the Sticky Teriyaki Tofu. I really enjoyed it. They'd managed to get some flavour into the tofu, and the rest of it (mushies, edamame beans, rice) was very nice.

 

Some other things I've tried throughout the month from various places:

 

Sainsbury's chorizo-style shroomdogs - these are very tasty. Lots of flavour from smoked paprika and garlic. The texture's not too bad - denser than many veggie sausages, with the odd lump (not sure what those were). I had them in sandwiches, but I'd probably buy them again more to cook with, rather than to eat as is (would work well in paella or casseroles I'd imagine).

 

White Rabbit sun-dried tomato pizza - disappointing. These are meant to cost a fiver, but were reduced to £4. Then I got one on use-by-date for £3. It's a basic pizza but with a very thin sprinkle of fake mozzarella. It didn't do it for me - even at a much-reduced price. The fake cheese was so sparse that for me it almost wasn't worth it being there.

 

Fry's Sausage Rolls - I have to say I think these taste more like sausage rolls than most of the actual sausage rolls I've ever eaten. Very good (mainly - I've had a few now, but one was quite dry despite having plenty of use-by date left).

 

Sainsbury's Avocado, Tomato and Spinach sandwich - I'd always dodged this, because it looked quite dull, but I gave it a punt when I saw it reduced when I needed a quick lunch. It's actually really nice. It turns out the tomato element is a tomato and basil sauce, and that makes the thing properly tasty. I'm nicking this idea - I'd not really thought of putting what is essentially the kind of home-made tomato pizza topping I make regularly in a sandwich before - but it'll work super-well with loads of things.

 

Tesco Wicked Moroccan Salad Bowl - very good indeed - absolutely bursting with flavour. I feared it might be too sweet for me, but it had a decent kick of heat to counter that (I didn't use all the dressing mind). My only complaint is that I could have done with another forkful or two. I've had a couple of Wicked things I wasn't massively keen on, but the good ones have been properly great. I'd happily buy all the rest of the list above bar the pizza again, but this is by far my favourite of the things I bought to scoff.

 

22 hours ago, TurningMonster said:

Speaking of mac n' cheese, I tried this variation the other day and it's really good. It's a dry mix which will keep, which you just combine with plant milk and it's ready by the time your pasta is cooked.

 

Will definitely give that a go, cheers. I've got all the ingredients, and I've just ordered a milling blade for my new Nutribullet mixer.

 

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Those sainsburys vegan sausages are remarkably good.

 

Their frozen meatballs are great too. I like baking them in a bath of bisto and red wine with a little sage, they soak it all up. So good. 

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3 hours ago, MarkN said:

Will definitely give that a go, cheers. I've got all the ingredients, and I've just ordered a milling blade for my new Nutribullet mixer.

 

 

Just one word of caution, the recipe says smoked paprika can be used instead of regular paprika, if you go that route, I would half the quantity used.

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So, last day of Veganuary today, and I'm gonna end up mainly stuffing chips through my face for my tea as a nice easy treat.

 

It's been a great thing to do (lots learned - recipes, techniques, but also just mixing stuff up a bit). Don't get me wrong - I'm going to have a big old cheesy pizza tomorrow to celebrate, but I'm definitely heading much more vegan from now on. I've got some store cupboard stuff to shift that's just vegetarian, but after that I'm going to switch to being mostly vegan. (I'd already cut out most dairy from my own cooking, but this will require me to cut it out for ready meals and sandwiches and so on, and also be vigilant about labelling too.)

 

The thing that surprised me is that I didn't miss having cheese on tap that much. I had the odd hankering for it (in particular a bit of Shropshire Blue for about 20 minutes last week sometime). Normally I'd have two or three blocks of cheese on the go in the fridge, and these made easy lunches, but also I'd pick at them and use them for snacks.  Not having that as an option is the best thing that to come out of this. I've made much nicer lunches since then (smoky roasted Mediterranean veg with homemade hummus was a stand-out), and I've not had the option of pinching a cheeky slice of cheese for a quick snack. The thing I missed most though was pizza - and that's the one I've not managed to solve yet (I'm trying).

 

So my plan going forward is to be mostly vegan, but allow myself to have a couple of pizzas a week if I want (or for special occasions). Instead of having cheese as a store cupboard staple, I'm only going to buy it if I have a definite recipe in mind, and only buy enough for that (and maybe a touch spare for a treat...). I reckon I can cut down my cheese consumption to about a quarter of what it was without missing it particularly. 

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