Friday, June 10, 2011

A proper British cup of tea

Breakfast: Breakfast burrito

Lunch: Salad and mini scones with a proper cup of tea

Dinner: Satay tofu and mixed veggies

Today I fly back to the UK for the first time in over a year and a half, so I'm pretty excited and thought I should post something typically British - and what could be more British than a decent cup of tea?

Now, you'd think that making a cup of tea would be easy. Apparently not. 99% of North Americans cannot make a good cup of tea. I think it's a patience thing: we Brits have the ability to wait hard-wired into us - we are a nation that will line up for something for hours without knowing what it is, and we will tut loudly at anyone that tries to jump the queue - while most North Americans are used to drinking coffee and getting it quickly, so the concept of leaving a teabag in to brew just bewilders them. Also, some places like McDonalds commit the heinous crime of putting the milk in with the water. NO. This will not make a good cup of tea. All McDonalds or Starbucks workers, please see below.

Also you can't really enjoy tea without some sort of dipping treat or supporting nibble. I made some mini scones with some home-made blackberry jam and Putin went mad on them - they were pretty good. I'll post the recipe on when I get back. Oh, and lately I've seen some scone recipes that have eggs in them: this is strange and wrong. As far as I'm concerned, a scone with an egg in it is a cake.

You'll need:
(Satiates 1)
1 good teabag - PG Tips Pyramid bags if you can get them. Try to avoid Orange Pekoe as I've yet to understand what this actually is. If you're using a big cup, use 2 teabags
1 tsp brown/white sugar
real milk - if you're vegan or lactose intolerant, use whatever milk you fancy, but for me, it's got to be cow's milk
A cup of water

Put the water in the kettle and leave it to boil
Put the teabag and the sugar in a cup / mug. DO NOT PUT THE MILK IN.
When the water is boiling (as in the second after the kettle switches off) pour the water into the cup. If you aren't stood right next to the kettle when it boils, then boil it again
Stir everything around once and then LEAVE IT. Go away. Stand away from the cup. Get out of the kitchen. If you smoke, go and have a cigarette. If you're at work, check your emails
Go back to it only after you've gone longer than you think you should. I'm talking a minimum of 3 minutes here, more if your teabag is flat
Squeeze the teabag against the side of the cup using the spoon, in order to get all the goodness out
Take the teabag and throw it away. Don't leave it in the sink, that's just annoying
Stir around to make sure the sugar has dissolved
Add enough milk to make it golden brown and stir. If the milk goes in when the tea is still brewing, it cools the boiling water down and stops all the flavour coming out of the tea leaves.
Grab a scone / 2 Hobnobs / other sturdy biscuit and sit down with the paper to enjoy
Dunk and drink. Hooray!

Fact for North Americans: in the UK, it's expected (in fact, it's necessary) of you to make endless cups of tea for builders / plumbers / any workers that come to your house. This is a standard British pleasantry and to overlook it is very bad. If you find yourself in this situation, use 2 teabags per cup and 4 sugars. This is commonly known as Builder's Tea. It should also be served with a whole tin of biscuits.

I am very much inspired in my tea-drinking ways by the late great Douglas Adams, who wrote a gorgeous guide to the perfect cup of tea. I only disagree with him on one point: Earl Grey tastes like crap fog.

Posts over the next 3 weeks will be sporadic but interesting while I galavant around the UK and the Czech Republic trying desperately to avoid meat. Let's see how I get on!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Vegan and gluten-free rice and pear breakfast drink

Breakfast: Vegan rice and pear breakfast drink. Gluten-free too!

Lunch: Apple-quinoa salad with avocado and that wicked Italian bread they always have at Sun Valley

Dinner: Soba noodle stirfry with mushrooms and alfalfa

As you might have noticed, I tend to be a bit boring on the breakfast foods in the week. This is a combination of 2 factors: tiredness and loving granola too much. I could eat that shiz morning, noon and night, until my kidneys gave way or something.

Anyway, I tried this for the first time this morning and was stoked with the results, despite the fact that it is hot and it was about the same temperature as the surface of the sun this morning in our apartment. It's a great way to use up rice leftover from the night before - and if you're anything like me, you'll always make too much rice.

You'll need
(Feeds 2)
2 cups leftover brown rice (pre-cooked the night before)
2 cups almond milk
2 pears
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp agave nectar or as much of any honey substitute as you like

Heat the rice and the almond milk in a pan together
Blend the rice and milk with the cinnamon, honey and pear

This gives you mad energy and is ridiculously tasty for something that is basically just a fake rice pudding drink. But then again, rice pudding is awesome!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Simple but delicious mint-bean salad

Breakfast: Granola and yogurt - the standard!

Lunch: The Juicy Vegan burrito from the amazing "Asian burrito" house, Chino Locos - tofu, eggplant, shitake mushroms, glass noodles, guacamole, tomatoes, edamame beans, red onion, black beans, green peppers, coriander, rice and chipotle sauce

Dinner: Simple but delicious bean salad with potatoes

I've eaten more burritos this week than I have in months, but I can never say no to Chino Locos, especially when the boss is buying! Chino Locos is so good that I have been known to take an hour's streetcar journey to get there. Thankfully we live much nearer to it now - which may not be good news for my bank account, but my stomach is certainly pleased.

It's about a million degrees celcius in Toronto at the moment, with a humidity reading of Retarded Humid. This makes it impossible to cook anything that involves you actually being in the kitchen for any amount of time. Good job this is ridiculously simple then, as well as being light and summery.

Tom Anderson requested some meals that can be made in under 15 minutes - this is one of them!

You'll need:
(Feeds 2)
1 tin kidney beans, drained
1 tin butter beans, drained
1 cucumber, chopped
2 handfuls spinach, roughly chopped
juice of 1 lime
splash of soy sauce
small handful fresh mint leaves, chopped
black pepper
Toss everything together in a bowl and season
Serve with cous cous, or whatever side dish you fancy. New potatoes boiled with herbs would be perfection.
The photo above has fried thin potatoes with it - these take about ten minutes. Cous cous takes 5, and new potatoes take about 15 minutes to boil. All come in under the 15 minute mark.

It can be easy to be complacent about your nutrition when its too hot to cook properly, but remember to get some grains and legumes in there with your summery vegetables....and a liberal sprinkling of ice cream.

Carrot and coriander fritters

Breakfast: Pecan and walnut granola with yogurt and raspberries

Lunch: Leftover vegan black bean burritos

Dinner: Carrot and coriander fritters on alfalfa sprouts with a little salad and lime dressing

I recently had a request from the lovely Sian for a corn fritters recipe. I was all psyched up and ready to make them last night, then I remembered a fantastic carrot and coriander fritters recipe I made in Sydney and thought "NO! Let's shake things up a little bit! Let's rock the apple cart! REVOLUTION!"

You'll need:
(Feeds 2)
3 carrots, grated
4 spring onions, chopped
handful fresh coriander, chopped
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp plain yogurt / double cream if you're feeling saucy
sunflower oil

Put grated carrots, coriander and spring onions in a bowl
Add in the eggs and flour followed by the yogurt / cream and season
Squeeze the excess juice and form into patties
Fry in the sunflower oil til brown on each side
Serve on top of alfalfa sprouts with a light salad

I shouldn't really have to spell out why you should eat carrots, as every kid born in the 80s got it drilled into them at an early age that they would actually go blind unless they ate them. I'm not sure this is entirely true, but I have it on good authority that 2 carrots a day can give you night vision.

Alfalfa sprouts are fantastic: cheap, available and full of protein and fiber that's easy to digest. It's also thought to be a galactagogue, which unfortunately has nothing to do with space travel and has more to do with inducing lactation, which seems like a very specific benefit, but if you do need to lactate, fill your boots.

And let's remember that any revolution based on carrots and coriander would of course be a peaceful and good one.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Vegan black bean brown rice burritos

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with mushrooms with the awesome bread

Lunch: Leek and potato soup

Dinner: Vegan black bean brown rice burritos with home-made tortilla chips and mango-chili sauce

In Toronto, people are a bit into burritos - specifically the Burrito Boyz burritos. Their veggie-soy one is brilliant, no actual human can finish their large size, and every single person under 30 in Toronto knows about the epic break up of the Brothers Burrito that ended in the splitting of the franchise. It's serious business.

But why should carnivores have all the fun? This is a great vegan recipe with the added bonus that it can stave off heart disease; brown rice can lower cholesterol and when combined with beans, it also provides an usually whole protein. Eat this for breakfast for optimum health effects!

You'll need:
(Feeds 2)
1/2 tin black beans, drained
1 small red onion, diced
1 large orange pepper, diced
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp coriander, ground
1 tbsp soy sauce
sunflower oil
flour tortillas
1 cup brown rice, cooked
chili-mango sauce
Fry the onion and pepper in the oil til they're browning
Add the black beans and fry for 5 mins
Add the paprika, coriander and soy sauce and cook for 10 more minutes
Take a tortilla and spread guacamole on the middle section
Stack layers of rice, bean mix and spinach, then wrap the burrito
Add hot sauce if you can handle it!
Dip into chili-mango sauce and enjoy!
These are also really nice cold the day after. If you wrap them in tinfoil they stay all wrapped up nice, like a happy little sausage roll. The chili-mango sauce recipe will be posted up here in the next few days - but if you're in Sydney and you can't wait til then, hit Guzman y Gomez. They have it!

You could throw some garlic into the bean mix if you like, but the guacamole I was using was fairly garlic-y so I left it out this time, so as to not create an atmosphere of breath in my surrounding area.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Rocketfruit salad

Breakfast: A selection of awesome pastries and jazz from The Rooster - thanks Andy!

Lunch: A much-needed energy bowl on soba noodles with spring rolls from the ever-fabulous Fresh

Dinner: Leek and potato soup (thanks Putin!) with rocketfruit salad - rocket (or arugala if you're North American), feta, raspberries and shaved pear with a splash of balsamic vinegar

This weekend we had a big expo at work, which meant too much fun, not enough sleep and a much-needed excuse to go to Fresh on Spadina. Their energy bowl on soba noodles is exactly what I needed at 6pm on Saturday!

My good friend Sian requested some summery salad recipes to be featured, and here's a great one. It's light, flavoursome (thanks to the rocket) and a little bit lovely because of the feta. I am a cheese fiend though, so feel free to dispense with the cheese if you're vegan and replace it with pine nuts, which are just as luxurious and also go well with balsamic vinegar.

You'll need:
(Feeds 2)
2 handfuls rocket (arugula)
1 pear, shaved (or cut into very thin wedges)
1 handful raspberries
feta cheese
a splash of balsamic vinegar

Throw the rocket, shaved pear and raspberries in a bowl
Toss with balasmic vinegar
Crumble feta on top

I'm not going to tell you how much cheese to use - no human should limit another's cheese usage. Just use caution and try not to become addicted.

Interestingly, pears are one of the least allergenic foods along with lamb and rice, so if you do break out in a rash after one, you should feel quite special - if itchy.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

What the hell do you want?

Hello out there! How's it going?

In case you're vaguely new to The Everyday Vegetarian, this blog is intended to give inspiration and encouragement to anyone who's meat-free or trying to cut out meat, and even those who are rabid carnivores but are interested what a vegetarian diet might look like. By posting my 3 meals every day, I hope that I'll show that a vegetarian diet can be healthy, balanced and fun, as well as expanding your food horizons a little!

In that spirit, let me know what you want! I've had a couple of requests and have posted what are hopefully helpful recipes, so if there's something you're craving to make but can't find a good recipe, let me know and I'll post one right here!

Any feedback on recipes is also happily received - have you, like Tom Anderson, had a problem by going overboard with the breadcrumbs in Hana's Tofu balls or did you find the hummus a little too hummusy? Let us know! I have been trying to include more vegan recipes and I'll be posting some gluten-free ones soon enough too.

Thanks for all the support so far, you've all been awesome. Remember that all these recipes are made in a fairly sparse kitchen with not much budget - we don't have a microwave, not even a toaster, and we don't buy $10 jam made from foreign objects. 

If I can make these meals, anyone can!

Vegan apple-quinoa granola

Breakfast: Vegan apple-quinoa granola, coffee, mini danishes and tiny croissants at work - thanks Andy!

Lunch: Lentil shepherd's pie with salad and a vegan hazelnut cupcake from Tea Tree on the Danforth - thanks Putin (and Erin)!

Dinner: Home-made hummas, alfalfa and avocado sandwich with the awesome bread

I have gone on about my love of granola on here before, so I'll keep it short this time: I proper like it.

I also proper like quinoa, and though I am very much dedicated to my original granola recipe (and if 2 days go by with none of it in the house, Putin gets really shirty) I wanted to find something that was vegan and less oily / buttery. Apple juice to the rescue!

Apple juice and apple sauce can be used as sweeteners if you don't want to use so much honey or sugar in recipes, and the combination of apple juice and agave nectar in this recipe negate the need for oil or butter. You can also stand the quinoa in apple juice before you make it to infuse it a little more.

You'll need:
3 cups oats
1 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 cup apple juice
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup agave nectar or other honey substitute (or honey, if you're not vegan)

Preheat oven to 160c
Gently heat the agave nectar or honey substitute to thin it out
Mix with apple juice juice
Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl
Mix wet ingrediens into dry ingredients
Spread on a baking tray and bake for 30 mins, stirring often

This is best when it's eaten with yogurt and left in the yogurt or almond milk for a couple of minutes before eating, as it softens the grains up a bit. Eat with raspberries for an awesome treat!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Spiced sweet potato cupcakes

Brunch: Squash and wild mushroom omelette with some awesome home fries and fruit

Dinner: Home-made burritos - beans, guacamole, rice, chips, the whole shebang

Treat: Spiced sweet potato cupcakes

This weekend I was in Montreal with my friend Anna, who is not only lovely and fun but a fantastic artist too. She was setting up for her show at CTRLlab Gallery, so I got to sleep in the gallery space and cook there too! We threw together some awesome burritos, some wicked crepes and Anna mixed the most perfect CC and ginger I've drunk in a long time.

Ok, so I didn't make these in Montreal (I was too busy having a great time, I love that place) but I did bring them all the way from Toronto! Who knew that sweet potato could be so tasty? The nutmeg and cinnamon make these much more interesting than they sound, and the cream cheese icing tops it off with a bang. They'd be killer at Christmas time.

Oh, and if you're American and confused, a sweet potato is a yam.

You'll need:
(makes 12)
6 cups sweet potato, grated
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
3 large eggs
2 cups self-raising flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 180c and line a cupcake tin with cupcake wrappers
Mix everything except the sweet potato and the nuts in a bowl
Stir in the sweet potato and nuts
Spoon the batter into the cupcake wrappers
Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick can be inserted into the cupcake and comes out clean
Let them cool then frost them if you like!

1 cup cream cheese
2 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Cream the cream cheese, vanilla extract and butter together
Add the icing sugar until it reaches your desired consistency - frosting has to be perfect!

Make sure the cream cheese is straight from the fridge and this frosting will be exactly as you want it to be - if it's room temperature, it tends to be a little more sloppy.

These are so amazing with a cup of tea, a glass of milk, or a fantastic mix of CC and ginger ale. But then again, so is everything.