Monday, 14 September 2009

What's for dinner?

Tonight, I had the magic of roasted cauliflower. If you've never roasted a cauli before, do it immediately.

Cut the cauli into bite-size florets, put them in a roasting dish, add a pinch of salt and drizzle liberally with olive oil. This is really all you need to do, but if you really want a taste sensation, add some chopped almonds or hazlenuts (or pine nuts, if you suddenly win he lottery), some garlic (I use lots because I like big chunks of roasted garlic in my food. I should probably seek help for my addiction), and a few spices - tonight I used a dash of nutmeg, a sprinkle of ground coriander, and a smattering of paprika. Mix together and whack them in the oven for about half an hour, or until the edges start to brown.

Once the cauli was done, I sprinkled on some lemon juice and left it to cool while sorting out some tasty cous coust complete my splendiferous repast. I admit, I can't quite manage yet to thoroughly enjoy the taste of cous cous alone - it's probably some fundamental failing as a vegan - so I cheated and mixed a teaspoon of bouillon powder in with the grains before adding the hot water, and a few sprigs of fresh rosemary for good measure. A few chopped cherry tomatoes later and my culinary delight was all ready.

Sound delicious? I can assure you it was.

Now for the really fun part. Because cake is the one thing that can motivate me to get organised, I managed to put together a batch of cake batter in the time the cauli was in the oven, seamlessly transferring the batter-filled tin into the oven as I removed the tray of cauli. This is my brilliant totally guilt-free sugar-free cake (sounds boring but I promise it's great), veganised from the Vegetarian Society's Good Food recipe book. The pages containing this recipe are totally ruined.

Apple and Date cake:

225g self-raising flour (or if like me your a cake snob and can't bring yourself to purchase generic self-raising pap, plain flour of any variety, plus teaspoon of baking powder and a bit of salt)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp lemon juice
150ml soy yogurt
2 blackened bananas, mashed to a nice egg-replacing goo
100ml vegetable oil
225g apples, cored and diced (I totally failed to weigh mine but I used two - the recipe says Bramley, last time I used Discovery with good results, this time I've got one Bramley and one Cox)
100g chopped dates

Preheat your oven to 350F and grease an 8" cake tin. Sift your dry ingredients into a big bowl. Whisk together your wet ingredients and add to the flour. Beat together (it will be pretty thick, but don't worry) and fold in the fruit. There's barely enough batter to cover the fruit, in my experience, but don't let this bother you! It's like complaining that there's too much jam in your roly poly.

Once you've somehow scooped, wedged, spread and mashed your mixture into the cake tin, bake it for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool in the tin for 5 mins, then turn out onto a cooling rack (might seem unnecessary but I really really recommend it - no one wants a soggy cake). The book says serve cold but what do they know?! Warm with vegan ice cream or custard, or on its own, is marvellous, as is cold with soy yogurt. And probably with vegan ice cream or custard too. I eat this cake for breakfast as well. Ok, so that's nothing new, I'll eat any cake available for breakfast, but I don't feel guilty about eating this cake for breakfast! Tomorrow I may even experiment with spreading it with jam.

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