Tuesday, 24 May 2011

National Vegetarian Week 2011 - Day 2


Hello! Thank you so much to everyone new who has come to read and to my new followers too. Please do say hello if you have a blog so I can come by and visit.

Ok, what have I been up to today? Well apart from making a pea out of an old Christmas bauble and some papier mache! It's dressing up day at school for my daughter later in the week and she is going to be the princess from Princess and the Pea and the only thing keeping her from just being a bog-standard princess is the lack of her own pea so I made her one. Sort of fits my vegetable theme for the week too, always a bonus. I said that the princess comes across as a picky little madam, after sharing my bed with a gargantuan toddler I'm fairly sure I could cope with a pea. Or even a Brussel sprout.

First things first I decided to try freezing some cookie dough. I often see recipes where things can be frozen part way through but have never done it before. I don't like our freezer very much, the drawers stick and the space in our kitchen means we can't open the freezer door properly and the time you have to spend fiddling about with it gives it time to leave a small puddle on the floor which I always manage to tread in after (aka 'freezer wee'). I do a lot of baking, mainly to give the kids something to have in their lunchbox at school but sometimes don't have the time so I thought if this works out then I have something to fall back on. I will blog the recipe when I get around to baking them, in case it's not good! However I did try this one earlier in the week and they are fabulous. If you need a picture to tempt you there is one on this lovely blog here. Mine came out much darker though, not sure why!

Now I would like to send chocolate cookies in their lunch every day but I think that would be frowned upon so I made Oatmeal Raisin Muffins based on this recipe here which are a little bit healthier. I also added some chopped apple using the remains of one my son had bitten into once and then abandoned (why do they do that?!) Obviously chopping out the bitemark first. I had some dried pineapple and thought it might go well in place of the raisins but I found the texture went a bit strange in the oven and won't be doing that next time! The crumble topping did taste a bit oily at first, we ate some of the muffins warm but once they are cold the oily taste had disappeared. I used sunflower oil instead of the olive. I think next time I will just sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon, the oil doesn't really add anything.


Oat and Apple Muffins
based on recipe from The Kitchn

130g plain flour
1tbsp baking powder
50g light brown soft sugar
½tsp cinnamon
100g porridge oats
50g raisins/dried pineapple
1 unpeeled apple, diced small
1 egg
250ml milk
75ml sunflower oil

Topping
2tbsp demerara sugar
1tsp cinnamon
1-2tsp oil

In a large bowl place the flour, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon, and oats and stir to combine. In a jug mix the milk, egg and oil together and pour into the dry ingredients, stirring till just mixed. The mix will be very liquid but after a short while the excess will be soaked up by the oats and it will be much easier to get into the cases. Spoon into muffin cases (mine made 10) Mix the ingredients for the topping together and sprinkle over the top of the muffins. Bake at 200c/Gas 6 for 18-25 minutes. Remove and leave to cool.


For tonight's dinner I chose the challenge of Sweet and Sour stir-fry. I know right? Supposedly one of the easiest things in the world! I seem to get the timings wrong or the size to cut the vegetables wrong and end up with some raw and others mushy. It's maddening! I tried about a year ago to make my own sweet and sour sauce as I don't tend to like the pre-made ones and I have no idea what is in the ones from the take away, they are so bright! I don't know if they have changed but they used to be full of MSG which repeats on me something terrible.The recipe I chose back then was ok but a little bland so today I added a few extra things to try and flavour it up a bit. Mr J was given the task of picking up a few extra bits of veg on his way home and it seemed it was markdown time at Waitrose and he has bought enough veg to last me a good few days, I now have enough tomatoes to choke a donkey! Everything was either 39p, 29p or 10p. Bargain!


I made the stir fry with Quorn pieces, broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, red peppers, pineapple, spring onions and spinach. You will never, ever see a water chestnut in my meals, words cannot express how much I can't stand them. The texture, it's just so........horrible! I served it with wholemeal noodles. It wasn't a complete success, my broccoli didn't cook through properly and I was at risk of ruining it so we had it very crunchy! I got a bit flustered towards the end, our hob is tiny and battling with my giant wok and large pan of noodles was really tricky and I had to call for backup!

Sweet and Sour Stir-fry Sauce

3tbsp tomato ketchup
2tbsp rice vinegar
1" piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 cloves garlic, grated
1½tbsp light brown sugar
½tsp mustard powder
2tbsp soy sauce
1½tbsp cornflour
1tsp vegetarian Worcester sauce
Juice from can of pineapple pieces.

Mix all ingredients together and pour over veg while stir-frying and cook until thickened. Around 3-5 minutes.

I think tomorrow I had better do something with all those tomatoes! Thanks for reading.

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