Friday, August 29, 2008

The marriage of two rice noodles..

After I made the Hor Fun, I still had a little bit of the noodles left. It was impossible to cook a meal for two with that. After rummaging through my kitchen cabinet, I came across some glass noodles. Its called Tang Hoon (as pointed out by Gina - she has a great website - kitchen capers). It was just two tiny bundles but I thought by incorporating both together and adding some veges with it, it will be good for the two of us.

So as usual, it was another stir fry dish, but instead of the usual, I decided to grind up some dried chilli and use it in the dish. It gave it a nice spiciness and also an earthy red to the noodles. If you notice, I 'recycled' the remaining vegetables into this dish - some corn, green vege, carrots and cabbage. It was good but I think the noodles absorbed a lot of the flavour, so it tasted a tiny bit bland. I ate it with some vegetarian belachan chilli, so that helped to offset the lack of flavour.

The Hor Fun Temptation....

I have always loved Hor Fun... The texture of the slippery soft rice noodles is somewhat hard to resist. Sometimes when I follow my colleagues out for lunch, they have seafood Hor Fun and I've been craving to recreate it in the vegetarian way. I made a trip to 'Shop N Save' and picked up a few vegetables including some oyster mushrooms to enhance the flavour of the noodles.

I was thinking that it will be a chore to cook, but it was one of the easiest noodle dishes I have ever made because there's not much stir frying involved! I made a simple stock of onions and garlics sautéed in sesame oil added perhaps 1/2 cup of water and used a vegetable stock cube to add to the flavour and to have a 'street food' taste aka MSG taste. I  also threw in some seaweed for the 'fishy' taste. Once I was satisfied with the boiling and steeping of the seaweed, I added the hard vegetables, like carrots, baby corns and the stems of the green vege. I also added the oyster mushrooms so that it will release its earthy aroma to the stock. After a quick boil, I dropped in the Hor Fun (washed please to remove the oil in it) with the remaining leafy vege and some shredded cabbage, let it boil and thickened it with some corn flour. Adjust the taste with some soya sauce and pepper and you are done! The key is to use vegetables that impart lots of flavour like corn, mushroom, carrots and cabbage. Vegan and tasty!

Friday, August 22, 2008

My first not so successful Vegan Pizza

I had some soy cheese seating in the fridge and I thought it was a good time to get down to using it. Since my hubby was craving for some pizza, I decided it was time to make my own vegan pizza. Pizza dough is not difficult to make and I got down to getting some dough kneaded for the pizza. Unfortunately, I didn't realise that my yeast had died because the dough didn't rise during proofing! Silly me should have ditched but since I didn't want to waste it, I decided to give it a go in the oven. Though I cooked the dough separately before putting the topping, the dough turned out thick and moist. Not the usual fluffy crusty dough that we like. Anyway, it was too late by then and we just had to eat our pan of pizza. My hubby thought it was still alright, but I couldn't quite accept it. Interestingly, the soy cheese melted nicely and it tasted pretty alrite. However, I can't seem to get our the fact that this is an artificially created substitute. I think when I get the time I'm gonna try the cashew cheese from the VSS forum.

One for my mum.....

Last weekend (the day of the elusive dragon-horse adventure), my mother made some idlli with sambar and chutney for dinner. Idlli is a South Indian dish made from cooked rice which is left to ferment and then steamed. It's soft, fluffy and delicately flavored with curry leaves, mustard seeds, dried chilli and onions all sauteed in gingelly oil (Indian sesame oil). This is poured into the batter and then steamed. The sambar is just dahl boiled with some tumeric, green chilli, shallots, garlic and a pinch of asofedita until well cooked. Vegetables are then added to it - usually carrots, potatoes, brinjal. 

I started of this blog only wanting to post pictures of what I make, but then since the camera was out, I decided to take a pic of my dinner too... Please don't ask me for the recipe because I sure do not know how to make the idlli. I do make sambar but its instinctive so it will be hard to provide a quantity. 

However, my husband can't stomach fermented food, so as a dutiful wife (yeah rite!) I made him his standard fare of noodles. However, I didn't have much vegetables, so I actually used cauliflower with some yellow bell peppers to make the dish. Surprisingly, it was quite good, which made me come to the conclusion that you can use whatever vegetables you want to make noodles :) It's all a matter of creativity (or desperation!)

The Elusive Dragon Horse...

So my pals at the VSS forum were talking about buying natural nuts and dried fruits. So babycat mentioned that there is a shop in Albert Centre Temporary Market which sells a wide variety of nuts and dried food items though not organic. However, the shop has a chinese name and hence I was wondering how to look for it. So, babycat described their logo to be like a cross between a dragon and a horse and I was wondering if that made it any easier. 

So anyway, armed with this information and the unit no. (which I have promptly forgotten.. if you want it, please visit the VSS forum :P) my hubby and I went down last Saturday to look for it. Fortunately, they own a row of shops and it was a breeze to locate them. So, I bought a lot of stuff in small quantities and blew $15. It's not that much cheaper than buying outside but you will get a better deal if you buy by the kg. So, anyway, I bought dried figs, cranberries, guava, prunes, rose bud tea, chrysanthemum tea, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, macadamia and curried peas. It's good because I have taken to eating nuts at work instead of snacks to stay awake. I know nuts are high in fats but at least it is good fats :)

My Stash :)

The mythical dragon-horse. (This is for you Go-veg)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A birthday cake for my beloved hubby

The 9th of August is the nation's birthday and the 10th of August is my hubby's birthday. He requested for his favourite sugee cake. So I made it for him. I need to improve on the lettering and the finishing of the cream. Unfortunately, I didn't have the opportunity to experiment with a vegan one but that it is on my 'to-do' list. Anyway he liked it, so I guess that's all that matters :) 

Throw Together Dinner

True to my word, I'm making an effort to blog more....I finally made dinner one day... If you can actually call it that.... it was just some left over things that I put together and opened a can of baked beans. Doesn't really look good but it tasted pretty alright! Need to cook more... getting a little tired of my mum's rice meals... but then beggars can't be choosy.... hahaha...

Saturday, August 9, 2008

What I have been up to...

Initially I was dreading to blog this post because I haven't been blogging for a while and sort of lost the momentum for it. The combination of acquiring a job and my mum's return from overseas meant that I can put my cooking days behind me and answer my grumbling tummy at my mother's place!  So I was thinking to myself that I had nothing much to show for myself. As I was looking through my virtual photo album, I realized there were some stuff that I have been doing, just that I did not bother to 'prettify' the photos. 

Of all the things I wish I did more of was salads. I realise I have only made two salads so far (what a shame I have been to vegetarians!). One was the five fruit salad which was really yummy and now the one below consisting of all the left over vegetables I could find at home and dousing it with some vinegar, salt, sugar and pepper. I omitted the olive oil to make it healthier. I realize though I love salads a lot, I don't eat them much because they don't fill me up. I know the problem is that I don't mix calorie dense food like nuts and avocados, so I'm gonna try do more of that.
I also realized that I actually made some cupcakes for my uncle's family. My uncle had invited my family over for a meal since my brother just returned from US. However hubby and I were quite apprehensive as we were not sure if the food was going to be vegetarian. Luckily, mum informed them beforehand and I remember having a lovely spread of rice, mock mutton curry, stir fried vegetables and beet-root cutlet! Yes, it was my first time having beet-root cutlet and it was really tasty. Since then, mum has made it at home too and she incorporates beet-root in noodles and fried rice. Very colorful and nutritious! So in appreciation, I made them a batch of mocha cupcakes with coffee frosting. I sprinkled it with some chocolate rice (unfortunately not vegan) but I think they look darn pretty!

 VSS is a great place to meet vegetarian friends and support. One of the places highly rated by the forumers was this restaurant called Delivege. Though hubby and I mostly do not eat out, we decided to give this place a try because of its rave reviews. We went there after work and the places was starting to fill up. The service was good, even the chef came and spoke to us and made recommendations about the famous DFC. Hubby decided to try that and I settled for the grilled 'chicken' since 'chicken' rice was not available on that day. The food was good but perhaps our expectations were overly stroked by the chef singing praises of the DFC and also by the recommendations from the forum. I wouldn't say I was blown away by the food. My only beef (if I may use the word) was that it was a bit pricey. The two pics below shows exactly what we ate, without any drinks and that alone came up to slightly more than $20. We will probably go there only on special occasions.
The famous DFC
Grilled Chicken
And finally, I participated in a vegetarian food fair sometime on the 12th of July to raise funds for a nursing home for the elderly. I baked about 300 cupcakes and sold it all off! Phew! I made some vanilla raspberry cupcakes as a tester.