Friday, January 23, 2009

Vegan Double Chocolate Pancakes

I hadn't made pancakes in sometime and been craving for some. My fav pancakes usually contain sliced or mashed bananas and chocolate. However, for this one, I did not have bananas and relied on good ol chocolate. I added non-diary chocolates  in the batter and drizzled some non-diary chocolate ganache on top. Super awesome. In fact, hubby said this were the best pancakes I have made, vegan or otherwise :)

Recipe for Vegan Double Chocolate Pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp of baking powder
1-2 tbsp of sugar
a pinch of salt
1 cup of soy milk (and about an additional tbsp) 
2 tbsp of corn oil or other veg oil
1 tsp vanilla
A handful of chocolate chips, or more.

1) Sift all the dry ingredients.
2) Add the milk, vanilla and corn oil and whisk until smooth. The batter should be thick and runny. If not, add the additional tbsp or so.
3) Mix in the chocolate. (Take care not to over mix as the chocolates will start to melt).
4) Heat a non-stick pan with a little oil. Drop about 2 tablespoons of batter and cook it until it dries and has a lot of bubbles. Flip it over and cook until brown.
5) Pour some chocolate syrup on top for the chocolate overload.

This is a generic batter that can be easily changed by adding blueberries, mashed bananas or other fruits. Consider adding nuts, flax seeds or dried fruits. You can consider using different type of sweeteners as well, like brown sugar, maple syrup, agave nectar. 

Beancurd Skin Parcels

This is my first brush with the bean curd wrappers. I usually use the thicker kind which I use in soups. These were sitting in my cupboard for some time and I was thinking of a good time to use it. For the filling, I used some leftover rice and some vegetables. Essentially, a fried rice wrapped in bean curd skin. One of the things I realised was that the beancurd skin is very salty. When I made the first two, I noticed salt granules on it. So, I dipped the remaining sheets in water to reduce the amount salt. I was worried it will disintegrate but it actually held together well.

I suppose the parcels can be steamed but I did the unhealthy thing of pan frying it. The next time I will consider baking it. It tasted quite nice but I think if I used a different filling it will be much tastier! :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Altazzag - Egyptian Restaurant

Hubby and I rarely eat out but since it was our a special day for us, we decided to try the food at Altazzag, which has been much raved about by our friends. Since this was the first time my first time having Middle Eastern food, I was really looking forward to it - firstly I can find out what it tastes like, so that I can replicate it at home and secondly, I've heard so much about hummus and tahina etc. The closest I have come to having ME food is pita bread stuffed with my own fillings. 

Fortunately. Altazzag has a all-in-one platter that offers the perennial favourites and we decided to go for that together with the much raved about falafel. In all honesty, I'm glad I tried the food but it was relatively bland to my tastebuds. I appreciate the nutritional value - loaded with wholesome sesames and chickpeas but it was not a out-of-this-world experience I was expecting. But then again, I'm a picky eater! Haha... 

The falafel reassembled an Indian vadai that we make. We call it the 'tortoise' vadai and looks, tastes and has very similar texture to falafel. The only difference is that the vadai is more spicy because it has minced curry leaves, onions and chilli in it. I have a sneaky feeling that the Indian vadai and falafel is the same thing... 

Food Exchange

I met Virginie by chance when she came to Singapore. I was on my way back home from work when I bumped into Fred and his gf Virginie. I would have spoken to her about 5 to 10 mins at most but she is truly a remarkable person. We got to know each other better through email and we are in some sense kindred spirits. We share similar perspectives about life and food! Well, to cut the story short, as Fred was heading home for Christmas, we decided to do a food exchange of stuff that are hard to come by in our countries. So, I got her a whole bag of chinese herbs that she was interested in, some laksa leaves, kaffir lime leaves, torch ginger and other dried products. 

In return, she send me a lovely bag of things that I could not have imagined, especially gold dust! The picture shows only some of the things, there are others that are not quite visible there... but let just say this is going to give me hours of fun in the kitchen!

Vegan Honeydew Sago

Honeydews were on promotion went I did a mad dash to Sheng Siong some time ago. I bought a honeydew on a whim and it was sitting in my kitchen counter starring at me with its woeful eyes. I ignored it for a while, but I soon realised that it was heading towards the point of no return if I were not to intervene. So , I slashed it into pieces and made honeydew soy milk bubble tea with half a melon and stuffed the other half back into the fridge. The next day, I decided to make some honeydew sago. First, I boiled about a cup of sago, and after the opaqueness turned into a translucent jelly, I washed off the starch. Next, I pureed the remaining half of a melon (after scooping about 15 melon balls) with some soy milk and about 2 teaspoons of vanilla sugar. Mix in the cooked sago and the melon balls, and you have honeydew sago!

Soy milk made a refreshingly light dessert but for a richer taste, use coconut milk. You may also want to flavour it with pandan by boiling pandan with some water and using it to make a syrup solution. I used vanilla sugar (basically used vanilla pods steeped in sugar). I sprinkled mine with some brown sugar but really, it is entirely up to your creativity. :)

Chocolatey Cake and Mango B'day Cake

The start of January saw me make 2 birthday cakes. One for an 8 year old who has a penchant for the mango fruit and for a 48 yr old who loves chocolates. (Who doesn't?)

The mango cake is perhaps my first major attempt at doing extensive cake decorating. I wasn't quite pleased with the results for two reasons - one, the hot and humid temperature was wrecking havoc on the cream making it very hard to get the piping done and two, my skills sucks. So combine the two and despite trying for hours to put on a good cake, I was only 50% satisfied.

The 2nd cake, a chocolate ganache cake was something that I was much pleased with despite working with ganache for the first time. The instructions was to make it as chocolaty as possible. So , I baked two moist choc cakes, layered with chocolate cream and chilled it. After which, I poured a layer of good strong chocolate ganache and sprinkled flaked chocolate on top. I dripped some chocolate ganache on the side as well, to make it all that more irresistible!

Monday, January 12, 2009

broccoli fried rice

This is just a simple fried rice dish that I made with the left over vegetables from the vegan mee rebus. As you can see the beans sprouts and the beancurd puffs make another appearance here! I just added broccoli for the additional colour and nutrition. I love vegetarian cooking, because it is so simple, quick and clean up is a breeze! 

Vegan Mee Rebus

I'm quite ashamed of myself for not updating the blog regularly. My parents have returned from India which means, my mum cooks most of my meals now :) I've also started on my classes, so that means I have little time outside work to actually do the things that I like.... I know these are excuses, but I will get down to more blogging soon ;) 

This is a vegan mee rebus that I did for my hubby one day when I was running out of ideas on what to cook. I didn't want to make the same old stir fried noodles and hubby just didn't want rice. So I settled for mee rebus. This is a traditional noodle dish of Malay/Indian origin, consisting of yellow noodles in a stock made from mashed sweet potatoes, shrimps and mutton/beef. For my vegan version, I took inspiration from Crystal's recipe and this. Unfortunately, I can't remember how I did it now, I just added a handful of this and that, but I do know that I added some vegetarian sambal belachan, curry powder, a piece of galangal, vegetarian salted fish (soaked and ground) and about 300g of japanese sweet potato (as suggested by crystal) among other things.

To increase the nutritional value, I topped with some beans sprout and bean curd puffs. Traditionally it comes topped with an egg. My hubby liked it but he did say that it does not taste like the 'real deal'. I've never been a fan of mee rebus so I suppose I have not registered the exact taste of it!