Nac Mac Vegan: adventures in rabbit food

11/07/2009

Edinburgh Farmers’ Market

Filed under: Ingredients, Shopping — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Feòrag @ 11:33

The location for the farmers' market is spectacular, especially on a good day like this.

The location for the farmers' market is spectacular, especially on a good day like this.

The Edinburgh Farmers’ Market is a weekly event, which is unfortunately on the wrong side of town for us. The withdrawal of the number 17 bus has made getting there by public transport impossible, and the fact that it’s on top of a car park isn’t an encouragement to use public transport either. So, when we go, unless we’re feeling really fit, we take the Volvo and then buy enough veg to justify it.

At first sight, the market doesn’t have much to offer the vegan, with an excess of meat stalls, and a couple of cheesemakers. They even have leaflets on the market information stall from the Meat Marketing Board promoting industrially-produced meat! But it’s not all unhealthy stuff, don’t worry.

Phantassie organic vegetables

Phantassie organic vegetables

Phantassie is an organic vegetable farm in East Lothian, and they are at the market a couple of times a month. This time round I bought red spring onions, smoked garlic, pea shoots (a green leafy veg), broad beans, white turnips and shiitake. Another regular is East Coast Organics, another East Lothian farm, who are at the market every week. Their stall provided me with a bunch of onions, another of carrots (carrot greens make good soup), one of radishes, a knobbly cucumber (good for Japanese recipes), a red kohlrabi and yellow courgettes. Meanwhile, my partner bought some fantastic plum tomatoes on the vine, and some baby plum tomatoes from the adjacent J & M Craig (one of the last remaining Clyde tomato growers) stall. The aroma from them is fantastic.

A couple of my favourite stalls weren’t there today. Ardnamushrooms grow shiitake and other fungi, and were the source of our organic shiitake block, an experiment in very local food we’d be glad to repeat some time. Carrolls Heritage Potatoes are only there on the first Saturday of the month, when tatties are in season, but they produce potatoes that I like — ones that taste of something. They have blue potatoes, purple potatoes and loads of flavoursome spuds from days of yore. I note they are now selling online, though, and have a stockist in Leith (if I can bear going into a fishmonger — I might have to send himself).

Cheery staff at the Good Soup Group.

Cheery staff at the Good Soup Group.

All that shopping can be hard work, so we had a couple of snacks whilst there. I ignored him having his pig in a bun (which he complained wasn’t very good – ha!) and chose a spicy noodle soup from the Good Soup Group — the noodles were rice noodles, making the soup both vegan and gluten free. Special dietary requirements seem to be a particular concern at the Good Soup Group, and they try to source everything locally wherever possible. And then there’s The Chocolate Tree, lurking ready to ruin all of your healthy eating intentions. They do a massive range of chocolate bars, vegan chocolate hazelnut spread and vegan chocolate sorbet. The cones for the sorbet are not vegan, but they are more than happy to serve it to you in a cup instead. Messy, and delicious, afterwards my face resembled that of a three-year-old after a bath in cocoa. And I don’t care!

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19/02/2009

Japanese recipes so far

As a way of getting this kick-started, here are my Japanese vegan recipes which I’ve already posted to my LiveJournal and elsewhere.

There are plenty more of these, and the observant might have noticed references to a cookbook. Yes, I’m working on one.

31/12/2008

My ozouni.

Filed under: Japanese — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — Feòrag @ 19:35

Ozouni is a traditional Japanese dish for New Year’s Day. It is generally had in the morning, after having toasted in the sunrise with sake, and is a significant cause of death for old people. There are as many recipes as people, plus a few more. Mine is vaguely Eastern Japan-ish, but vegan. Serves four-ish.

For dashi:
Piece of dashi konbu

For fake fish roll:
about a third of a block of konnyaku
a few drops of red food colouring (yes, there is vegan red food colouring out there)
very strong konbu dashi

The rest:
3 dried shiitake
about half a carrot
a block of firm tofu, cut into big triangular chunks
some greenery (not available this time)
1 tbl shouyu
1 tbl sake
one piece mochi per person
dried yuzu peel

Set the shiitake to soak. Slice the carrots and use a fancy cutter to make them an interesting shape. Bung the konbu and the bits of carrot you cut off into a pan with plenty of water, bring to the boil and simmer for half an hour or so. Drain, retaining the liquid.

Cut round or flower shapes out of the konnyaku. Put it in a small pan with enough strong dashi to cover (I cheated and used instant for this) and the food colouring. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, and don’t forget about it! Strain – no need to reserve the liquid.

Put the home-made dashi back into the big pan, and add the shiitake soaking water, the shouyu, the sake and more water if needed (you know how big your soup bowls are!). Bring back to the boil whilst thinly slicing the shiitake, discarding the stems. Add the shiitake and tofu to the dashi and simmer for 5 minutes, the add the carrots, the fake fish rolls and the greenery.

Continue simmering while you prepare the mochi.

The best place to get mochi is a health food store – I use the Mitoku brown rice ones which Real Foods sell, because I am a Bloody Hippie. Grill the mochi on both sides until they swell up then put one in each bowl. Ladle the soup over the mochi, making sure everyone gets a bit of everything. Sprinkle some yuzu peel over. Eat the mochi carefully – they’re sticky and choking on them is what kills people in Japan.

For a more Western Japanese style, add white miso.

23/01/2008

Saute shiitake and parsnip

Filed under: Japanese — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Feòrag @ 13:44

I’ve been bashing on at the cookbook in fits and starts, and today have added a couple more recipes. I’ve been experimenting with using parsnip to replace burdock, because the quality of burdock available here is awful. This recipe, based very loosely on a beef fried with burdock recipe, was particularly successful:

Saute shiitake and parsnip

1 small, ideally long and thin, parsnip
1 large shiitake mushroom
sesame oil
2 tsp mirin
2 tsp sake
2 tsp shōyu

Scrub parsnip. Cut off shavings, like sharpening a pencil with a knife (this is easier if you put the parsnip flat on your chopping board and, surprisingly, use a large knife). Alternatively cut into julienne strips.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan or frying pan, add the parsnips and fry them while you cut the mushroom up into julienne strips. Add the mushroom to the pan and continue to fry for a minute or so. Add the mirin, sake and shōyu mixture and simmer until the parsnip is just tender – probably only another minute at most, depending on the size of the pieces.

Notes: This recipe is based on one that originally featured burdock. If you are able to get hold of a nice, fresh burdock root, this will need about a 20cm length and will take slightly longer to cook. Either fresh or dried shiitake can be used, as can any mushroom with a strong flavour.

07/06/2007

Fried Asparagus and Braised Shiitake.

Filed under: Japanese — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Feòrag @ 16:25

A Japanese lunchTwo Japanese style dishes which formed part of my lunch today. The recipes below each make an individual portion when served as part of a Japanese meal

Fried Asparagus
6 spears green asparagus
1 tablespoon sesame oil
¾ tsp sake
¾ tsp dashi

Cut the asparagus into 5cm (2″) lengths, discarding the tough ends. Heat the oil in a frying pan or wok, add the asparagus and stir-fry quickly. Drain off any excess oil. Add the sake and dashi to the pan. When the stock thickens, the dish is ready. Serve sprinkled with sesame seed.

Braised Shiitake
3 dried shiitake mushrooms
sesame oil for frying
1 tsp sake
1 tsp shōyu

Soak the mushrooms for 15-30 minutes, then cut off the stems. Reserve a few spoonsful of the soaking water and add the sake and soy sauce to it. Heat the oil in a frying pan or wok and place the mushroom caps in it, gills down. Fry for a minute or so, then flip over and fry the caps. Add the reserved soaking water. The dish is ready when it has boiled dry.

In the photo, this is shown served on top of grilled tofu, which was done in a grill pan as slices, then cut up into chopstick sized pieces.

22/05/2007

Black Beans and Hijiki

This recipe was adapted from one in Kyoko Honda’s Tofu and Soybean Cooking. The original used soya beans, and used more sweetener and seasonings.

1 can black beans
10g dried hijiki (about 1/3 cup)
3 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 sheet abura-age (fried tofu sheets)
1 small carrot
½ sachet dashi (vegan ones do exist, honest)
4 tbsp shoyu
2 tbsp brown rice syrup
2 tbsp sake
1½ tbsp sesame oil

Put the hijiki to soak in 1 cup warm water; soak the shiitake mushrooms in enough water to cover them. Put on some brown rice.

Rinse the abura-age in hot water to defrost and get rid of the oil. Pat dry in a tea towel and slice into julienne strips. Slice the carrot into julienne strips. Combine the shoyu, brown rice syrup and sake in bowl. Drain the tin of beans.

Go away and read teh internets for 10 minutes or so.

Drain the seaweed and mushrooms, retaining the soaking water. Cut the stalks off the shiitake and bung them in the stockpot (or the bin, depending). Slice the caps.

Heat up the oil in a wok or large saucepan. Add the carrots, mushrooms, hijiki and abura-age and stir fry for a couple of minutes (don’t skip this for health reasons – much of the good stuff in sea veg is oil-soluble). Add the beans, soaking water and dashi powder, bring to the boil. Add the combined shoyu etc – you might have to add a bit of the hot water from the pan to get all the syrup out, then allow to simmer until dry.

Serves 2 as a one bowl meal with rice. Serves lots and lots as a small dish presented as part of a Japanese style meal.

14/02/2005

Braised shiitake mushrooms with tofu

Filed under: Japanese — Tags: , , , — Feòrag @ 17:49

I’ve just found this recipe on the inside of a pack of Tesco shiitake mushrooms, and it looks delicious so I thought I’d share it before I toss the label. I’ve removed references to non-vegan variations:

Cooking Time: 11½ minutes

Ingredients::
2 tbsp groundnut oil;
250g pack tofu, cut into 2.5cm pieces;
1 garlic clove, finely chopped;
2 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger;
3 finely sliced spring onions;
100g pack whole shiitake mushrooms, stalks trimmed;
1 tbsp shaoxing wine or dry sherry;
½ tbsp soy sauce;
1 tbsp stock or water;
1 tsp sugar;
2 tsp sesame oil.

Method:

  1. Heat a wok or large frying pan over a high heat. Add half the oil and when it’s very hot and slightly smoking, add the tofu. Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes until golden then remove the tofu from the pan and set aside.
  2. Heat the remaining oil in the pan. Add the garlic, ginger and spring onion and stir-fry for about 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry for 1 minute.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pan, including the tofu. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting cover the pan and cook for 6-8 minutes until the mushrooms are tender.
  4. Remove from the heat. Stir in the sesame oil and serve… SERVES 4 AS A SIDE DISH.

The one clarification I would make is that the rest of the ingredients in step 3 doesn’t include the sesame oil.

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