Tag Archive: j cooks

Pineapple-coloured summers

They had both seen the lattice of streaky black clouds that climbed the horizon and scudded towards them, fleeing from the dying sun.
Lord of No Time by Louise Cooper

It's been a little while since we've had cake right? So it was about time for another birthday!

I doubled the recipe for the Pineapple Right-Side-Up cupcakes from
Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. The centre is filled with a single batch of the pineapple topping and a toasted coconut cream cheese frosting. Then the top has more of the cream cheese frosting along with chopped dark chocolate, almonds, and some rather alcoholic cherries Mum had given me a while back. Delicious!

Of course, life isn't just about cake though (but that would be nice!)...

Lunch at my parents after raiding their pantry and freezer! Leftover veges and tofu luncheon on puff pastry. Unfortunately it stuck to the tray despite me spraying it first. Hmmm...

Although on the whole it's getting really hot and humid here, we still have the odd cold night. Corn Chowder after running home from work in the evening really warms you up (plus makes lots of leftovers for delicious lunches!). No recipe required...just my head as usual.

J had never had polenta before so it was time to whip up a batch with some stir-fried asparagus (I left J in charge of those...one has to delegate sometimes!) and baked tempeh (always a favourite). I cooked up the polenta in the morning, added some sun-dried tomatoes, smoked paprika and sheese, then chilled it in a pan until the evening when I cooked it in slabs over the fry pan.

As an aside, is it really December already? I don't think I'm ready for this!

A beautiful surprise through the rain

I am weary of controversy, opinionation, fanaticism. I can walk into your house without donning a uniform, without having to recite some gospel, without renouncing any part of my inner homeland. With you, I do not have to exonerate myself, to plead, to prove: I find peace, as on that afternoon in Tournus. Beyond the clumsy words, beyond the specious arguments, what you see in me is simply a man. You honour me as the ambassador of a faith, customs, particular affections. If I differ from you, far from wronging you, I add something to you. And you cross-question me as one does a returning traveller.
- Letter to a Hostage by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

In between downpours (once it starts raining continuously every day then you know winter has arrived!) on Saturday morning I met my beautiful friend S of the new blog, Cinnamon Spoon & Goodbye Tea, at the Parnell markets and she surprised me with the sweetest gift: a divine salad filled with kumara chunks, chickpeas and other goodies (how did she know I love kumara?) and some gorgeous cupcakes (which J and I very much enjoyed the next day). They had this delicate marmalade taste which S informed me came from her homemade marmalade. She had even packed them up beautifully herself.

All beautifully packaged.

Unwrapped and ready for indulgence.

Later that same day we visited my parents for my Dad's birthday. I gave him lots of chocolate (we're not a big gift family...the best present is every year we all get our favourite box of cereal...mine is normally Frosties simply because there is a tiger on the packet and I'm fixated on them!) and J made him a card under my inspection (although I did attempt to write a small message inside which looked like it was from someone learning to write). As it turned out, Dad's birthday has been very chocolate-coated. My brother and his wife gave Dad a selection of fancy chocolate sauces and the night before (his actual birthday) he'd gone out for dinner and had some chocolate creation for dessert. Oh, and his cereal was chocolate flavoured too!

J made hummus and we brought along Sesame Blues corn chips for nibbles and Mum had made tortilla chips from wraps needing to be used up. Then for dinner my Mum made a vegan shepards pie (a kidney bean filling with a mashed potato topping...I think it's adapted from one of Alison and Simon Holst's vegetarian cookbooks), stir fried veges and a beautiful fresh salad with her awesome dressing.

Dessert was cake, naturally. FatFree Vegan's Chocolate-Orange Cake to be exact. It was delicious (especially the icings...the orange one tasted like Jaffa) but a little chewy. Well, I can't complain since I didn't have to bake it! Mum likes to stick to her tried and true recipes so I was impressed she branched out for the night.

Desperate to cook

The Bride explained that her decision was not about our friendship, but about her wedding. She was calm and steely in her resolve. I spilled a drink and cried loudly. She said we could still be friends. I wondered if we ever really had been.
- Bad Bridesmaid by Siri Agrell

I'm not naturally a very positive person and I tend to find I need certain things to keep me on track such as art, playing music, writing, cooking (yes, it can be highly therapeutic!) and sport. Unfortunately having broken my right arm and being highly un-ambidextrous means all those are out which has been driving me, and consequently J, a bit loopy.

I made it to work for the first time in over 3 weeks today only to find my computer had died and that we'd moved offices (across the hall but still, it's weird to come back and find everything changed). There wasn't much I could do so I went home again, managing to fall on the grass on the way...and putting my damn right arm out to stop myself. Lucky I've got a cast but still, more pain killers required.

I guess one of the most frustrating things day in, day out is not being able to cook (or prepare much either). There is nothing like a warm, home-cooked meal to brighten up the end of the day. I don't actually enjoy eating out all that much and when you've only got one hand and you're pretty unco with it you find food choices somewhat limited. Lately there's been a lot of eating out or takeaways though.

Below is a mixed salad from Kokako (well actually we picked it up from Harvest Wholefoods but they get it from the Kokako cafe). We've got Raw Power, Brown Rice Salad and Roasted Vegetable and Chickpea Salad with a basic dressing.

The other day on the way home from the hospital after the usual xrays I discovered a new health food store, Huckleberry Farm Wholefoods Supermarket. Well, it's not new but I'd never seen it before despite driving along that road many a time. Turns out they are run by the same people as Harvest Wholefoods, my usual health food store (although Harvest is completely vegetarian unlike Huckleberry Farm). They had a selection of food in the counter as well as aisles to browse so I picked up a curried tofu and lentil pie with mashed kumara topping to take home for dinner. Very tasty!

Lunch in town (during a rare moment of sunshine) to get away from being stuck in the apartment all day. I got a tofu and kumara sandwich from Raw Power ( I had to ask them to cut it up into several pieces but still mamaged to spill it all over myself: mental note not to eat sandwiches again until I have two hands again!). One very awesome sandwich!

Plus everyone deserves a treat every once and a while: a huge melting moment cookie from Raw Power (it's on a pretty tiny plate in case you were thinking it was dinner plate sized!).

J is a pretty good cook but he admits he doesn't enjoy it (I'm normally the cook round here) so we have been getting a lot of Thai take-out (thank goodness for the Thai place down below)! But last night J inspired himself enough to cook us dinner.

Here we have satay (Malaysian Satay Sauce out of a bottle...we were a bit grumpy to find all the real spicy ones had fish sauce so it was pretty bland) tofu and veges on rice.

I don't have a photo of the bean and pasta soup he's made a few times (a good old Alison Holst recipe from her Quick and Easy Vegetarian Cookbook) but that is perfect for the weather we've been having lately - rain, hail, cold, damp winds. Yep, winter has most definitely arrived.

The King of Sandwiches is in the house

Cia is my sister and I am her leader. The two of us are sitting on the flagstone steps outside the kitchen door eating our peanut butter and jam sandwiches. Cia peels hers apart, as she always does, and slowly licks out the filling, while I squash the slices of bread together between my palms until they turn doughy and ooze peanut butter and jam goo, then gulp it down.
- The Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam by Lauren Liebenberg

We make quite a lot of our own bread in the trusty breadmaker (okay, I make it and we eat it) which gives us the perfect excuse to eat healthy lunches and make elaborate sandwiches for work. Here's one that J put together for me one morning.

The bread is a homemade spinach pesto bread made with plain wholemeal, wholemeal spelt and 7-grain flours. Inside is more of the pesto (the perfect way to use up the last of a big bag of spinach when it's starting to look a bit old), homemade hummus, tofu luncheon, grated carrot, tomato, avocado and spinach...so big you can barely get your mouth around it!!

The other day I was browsing through the library as usual and stumbled across The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook by Joanne Stepaniak. I'd seen this book mentioned at The Tropical Vegan's blog but hadn't really thought of looking for it. It was a very exhausting weekend so we decided to finish it up with the Grilled Cheez Sandwiches from the book since there was some leftover homemade bread needing using. J was delighted and actually pretty excited about the whole idea so I left him in charge of the kitchen.

They were surprisingly good but we didn't have any turmeric which probably aids the colour. J reckoned that although it was the right consistency and tasted pretty damn close, the colour just wasn't right. We also used a lot more of the mixture than it said. Apparently it's supposed to make 4 sandwiches but we only got 2 and a bit out of it. Then again, the bread slices are pretty large.

Last weekend after orienteering we were wandering through one of the many fruit and vege stores out on the road towards Kumeu and Woodhill and J spotted basil pesto wraps. I was suspect since pesto traditionally has cheese in it but these were all good and vegan-friendly.

I filled them with stir-fried veges, marinated and lightly pan-fried tempeh, avocado and tomato then baked them for about 10 minutes (or something like that...but they were nice and crispy). Delicious!