Friday, 21 June 2013

Cookbook Challenge Weeks 24 & 25

This week I have cooked from 2 cookbook - the reason being that even though I want to cook from a different cookbook each week there will be weeks when I don't want to cook from any (such as the last 2 weeks in December when I eat every type of mass produced Vegan junk food on the planet) so I am going to get a few weeks a head so I can still complete my challenge and relax when I need to.

Vegan Lunch Box 
The first book that I have been cooking from is Vegan Lunch Box by Jennifer McCann, I've had this book for several years and have never got round to cooking anything from it, so I decided to make the Golden Chestnut Soup, Ranch Dip & Easy Potato Salad.

Ranch Dip - This really wasn't great, a bit lacklustre and flavourless (even with the addition of extra garlic & nutritional yeast). I am going to try this again tomorrow with lot of nutritional yeast, onion powder & garlic powder. Hopefully this will improve the taste:

Easy Potato Salad - I have not had potato salad in 5 years (mostly through laziness) so I couldn't wait to try this and I wasn't disappointed, it was thick, creamy, tasty and easy to make. Definitely something I will be making again through the summer - I served it with veg & 5 spice seitan:

Golden Chestnut Soup - as per usual saved the best for last, this was delicious. Warm and sweet, probably better for the winter months but an excellent recipe all the same and something I will be making again in future:

Overall I found this book a little disappointing, there are some recipes that I still want to try such as pretzels but when reading through it I found it a little  difficult to find things that I wanted to make, the second book in the series (which I am cooking from next week - Vegan Lunch Box around the World) however is far more promising...

The Conscious Cook
The second book is the conscious cook by Tal Ronnen, I found this book in Waterstones a few years ago, I went back to buy it the next day and had to hunt through the shop to find it (it had been taken off the shelf to be sent back as it was not selling), but eventually found it on a trolley with a lot of other unloved and forlorn looking books. I am so glad I went back as this book has been wonderful!! At first it can be a bit intimidating as some of the recipes are complex or need unusual ingredients (E.G there is a recipe for fresh Vegan pasta - like egg pasta but without the chicken period) but if you give the recipes a try they are definitely worthwhile.

Creole Tempeh - Tempeh is probably my favourite fake meat (not as boring as tofu, not as chewy as seitan) and this recipe really made it special. Its spicy, warm and full of flavour:

Split Pea Soup - this is supposed be served with tempeh bacon but I ration my tempeh as its kinda hard to get hold of, instead I used homemade fake bacon bits. The soup however was one of the best that I have ever tasted. It was flavourful, warming and extremely filling. This will be another firm favourite in my house from now on;

California Gardein Chicken Salad -  I had to substitute Asda chiken style pieces for the Gardein as we don't get it in the UK, that notwithstanding this recipe was for lack of a better word perfect.
The recipe is made up of fake chiken, grapes, celery, vegan mayo (among other ingredients) but what really made it special was the toasted walnuts which gave it a chicken flavour that I have not experienced since turning vegan. This has now become one of my favourite sandwich fillings* and will be made again very soon:

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cake - Gorgeous and brilliant, one of the nicest things that I have eaten all year:

Overall the only way I can describe this book (and please forgive my language) is f*****k brilliant, it probably helps that Tal Ronnen is a chef, but this book really shows how great Vegan food can be.
This is one of the best books that I have cooked from so far this year.

*The others being "The Fat Ass" from the Sexy Vegan, Dark Chocolate Dreams (Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cherry Jam and Coconut - inspired by the Peanut Butter Co), my own 5 spice seitan with spicy pickle mayo & Vegusto and my Vegan Croque Monsieur 

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