Thursday, August 27, 2009

Love Life!

♥ The enjoyment I'm getting from studying, and actually engaging myself with my course work this semester. (Apparently it's showing in the quality of my submissions too, hooray!!)

♥ Short-notice visits from my best friends from interstate, sharing burgers, cuddles, and our new house with two of my favourite people EVER!


♥ Friends in general! Now that I'm studying in the mornings, I'm finding way more time to squeeze friend-dates into my life without being uber stressed about everything! Lunch at Vegos, beanbag study sessions, fortnightly Project Runway night, things couldn't be better!

♥ My new shoes. Le sigh. They are SO SO SO pretty!! I've wanted sneakers for about 3 1/2 years, and I've never been able to find anything girly enough, until now! I will probably struggle a little bit for outfits to wear them with, but I don't care if I only get to wear them once every 6 months, as they are completely and undoubtably perfect!


♥ The weather warming up! Apparently Adelaide has seen more rain in the past 8 weeks than in the entire of 2008, and I am super pleased about this, but the warmer weather which keeps showing it's pretty face is definitely welcome. I just hope that it's not as dry a summer as we had last year, and that some of this rain will continue through! (Nothing better than swimming at the beach in the rain! EEE!!)

♥ The length of my hair at the moment, it's starting to get some curl in it, and I feel like it's gaining personality again! FINALLY!!


♥ VEGAN BRUNCH DATE!! This Sunday we have invited a good deal of friends over for a big brunch feast, and I'm getting so awfully excited planning all the goodness that we're going to eat! So far we're supplying: facon, notdogs, scrambled tofu, tomatoes, mushrooms, french toast, fruit, pancakes, coffee, breakfast punch and (hopefully) freshly squeezed OJ! Things I'd like to have but am not convinced we need are tortillas/cheezly for breakfast burritos, icecream/maple syrup for the pancakes and BREAKFAST CUPCAKES! I plan on laying around all afternoon with my fat belleh and enjoying the fine company which my friends provide! Shall be swell!

♥ Getting back into crafting! I bought the most gorgeous blue gingham and a bunch of super cute buttons the other day, I'm going to make a spring-time skirt, and hopefully a bunch of earrings! I still have to finish my Hello Kitty cross stitch as well, and then get back on the embroidery wagon. Once again am grateful for organising my study patterns!


♥ My beautiful Lily cat is turning 1 next week! Makes me realise how quickly this year has flown by! She's gorgeous, gives the best cuddles, and makes me feel completely, utterly, totally and incredibly loved, ALL the time. Bless her little socks!


That's probably enough merriment for now, otherwise I'll be running late for work!
Take care, world!


Monday, August 24, 2009

Seitan and Mushroom Pi-i-i-i-ie!


Today was an extremely gloomy, ridiculously windy, cold, wet and rainy winter's day. What better way to warm up at dinner time than with a crisp, "meaty" pie, straight from the oven! This meal was taken from a steak and mushroom pie recipe, but veganised to be even more delish, and low fat to boot. It is pretty time consuming, but can be done in stages with a quick dinner at the end. For the seitan, we used a single batch of Isa's 'Simple Seitan' from Veganomicon.

1 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, sliced
250g mushrooms, sliced
450g seitan, diced into 1" chunks
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
2 tbs cornflour, mixed into 3-4 tbs water
1 sheet puff pastry (regular or reduced fat)

To make:
Heat the olive oil in a large fry pan, and cook the onion for around 3 minutes, until starting to soften. Add the carrot and mushroom, and continue to fry for another 3 minutes. Throw in the rest of the ingredients, except cornflour/water and pastry, and stir together, then cover and simmer over a medium heat for around 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.


[If you need to, this step can be done in advance and stored in the fridge overnight]
After the half hour simmering, everything should be nicely heated through, and softened. Pre-heat the oven to 220C. Pour the cornflour and water mixture into your pan, stir all around, and cook the filling for 1 more minute, until the sauce thickens somewhat.
[This is where you come in if you've refrigerated the filling.]
Pour into a pie dish (ours is around 10" diameter) and cover with the sheet of puff pastry, trim the edges, and place in pre-heated oven for 30 minutes, then ENJOY!!



We've been making potato fries to eat with almost everything lately, after buying a 5kg bag of potatoes a few weeks ago. They're super easy, and quick, and yummy too, plus you can make as little or as much as you need or want!

2 small, or 1 large potatoes per person
1 tbs olive oil (or spray oil if you're diet conscious)
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
other spices (chilli, cumin, coriander, paprika, etc!)

To make:
Pre-heat the oven to 220C. Slice the potatoes into either wedges or fries. Chuck them in a bowl with the olive oil (or give a good coating with spray oil) and then add in all the spices you like, and give the bowl a good shake. Place them in a single layer on a baking tray, and bake for 20 mins, then flip, and bake for another 15-20. They should be eaten straight away for optimum crunch!

That's all for now! I've been reading a bunch of craft blogs, and hopefully with my spare time in the evenings I can get back on the craft wagon again! I sure do miss stitching up a storm...

x Mara

Sunday, August 9, 2009

French Toast

Mornings spent together are fairly rare in our household, what with early starts during the week, and my working on weekends. When we do have a morning off we take the chance to sleep in, and to prepare something for breakfast that goes well beyond necessity (think cereal, toast, porridge etc).

Today was one of those days, and we decided to kick start our morning with So Good Vanilla Bliss affogatos (God bless the coffee machine!) and french toast.


This is a photo of Matt's breakfast...I for some reason like my french toast plain, with just a huge dashing of salt for accompaniment (but that doesn't make as pretty a picture).

Here's the recipe we use, it is based on the "Fronch" toast recipe from Isa's Vegan With A Vengeance, and I reproduced it in issue 1 of Salad Days. I have seen many other vegan french toast recipes using tofu etc, which to be honest I haven't ever tried, but this one seriously tastes so realistic I doubt I ever will! It's also REALLY quick to make...

1 french stick (we use Baker's Delight), slightly stale
1 1/2 cups soy milk
3 tbsp cornflour
1/3 cup besan (chickpea flour - from healthfood/Indian grocery stores)
canola/vegetable oil for frying
berries/banana/maple syrup/chocolate sauce/ice cream/salt for topping

To make:
Slice the bread into 1 inch rounds, on an angle for slightly bigger surface area. In a large, shallow bowl, whisk together the cornflour and the soy milk until well combined. Add the chickpea flour and whisk again.
Dip both sides of the bread into the milk/flour mixture, using enough slices that will fit into your non-stick frying pan. Add a couple of teaspoons of oil to a frying pan over a moderate-high heat, and fry the slices until brown and speckled on each side.
If you want to make a big batch all at once (this recipe does around 16 pieces) then place them on an oven tray at the lowest possible temperature (around 120C) whilst you fry up the rest. Or you can just do small batches and come back for more, so they're super fresh!

Serve warm with all your desired toppings (and an affogato, if you're lucky).

x Mara