This blog is a celebration of the wonderful world of vegan cooking. Enjoy!

* The title of this blog refutes the dangerous idea that veganism is a weight-loss diet and that all vegans are skinny. Conversely, being a-not-so-skinny-vegan is also not the same as being overweight or unhealthy. All food intake must be part of a balanced lifestyle.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Vegan Haggis and a Not-So-Cheesy Cheesecake

It was not until I had the haggis fully prepared as per recipe instructions that I realised that perhaps the recipe required prior knowledge of what exactly haggis was and how exactly it is normally prepared that went beyond what was described in the book. And it turns out that no one, including those who scoffed at my claim that I was cooking Vegan Haggis, actually knew what haggis was let alone what utensils it required to be prepared. All I could really get from anyone was that it involved some part of an animal. As my haggis was to be completely animal free this was not so helpful.

This is the recipe from Henderson's Wholefood Cookbook.

Vegan Haggis
75 g mushrooms (finely chopped)
75g brown lentils (soaked for two to three hours)
50g pinhead oatmeal (soaked for one hour)
50g red kidney beans (soaked, cooked and chopped)
25g vegan margarine
150g carrots (grated) [approx. one carrot]
2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
1 tspn garam masala
freshly ground sea salt
150g onions (chopped) [approx. one onion]
1 tbspn soy sauce
1 tpsn vegetable oil
1/2 level tspn freshly ground black pepper

Saute garlic, onion and seasoning with a little oil until soft.

Add brown lentils and carrot and simmer on a low heat until lentils are soft, stirring to prevent sticking. The moisture content of the soaked lentils and carrot should be sufficient but if not add a little water. Add mushrooms and allow to soften. Add kidney beans. Stir in margarine and more black pepper to taste. Finally add oatmeal after (draining and rinsing) and mix well. The oatmeal should retain its texture.

Serve with clapshot - approx. 4 potatoes and one medium turnip boiled and mashed with a little margarine and seasoned to taste. Serves 4.

So I cheated a bit and used canned lentils and beans simply because I hadn't the foresight or time to soak them. Geoff and I were also walking around Woolworths trying to figure out what the hell oatmeal was. We ended up calling Grandma and asking her. She suggested Uncle Toby's Oats. We got Homebrand Quick Oats. I figured it would require less soaking time. And it was cheaper.

So after I finished following these directions I kind of had this brown mushy lump in a saucepan. I wasn't sure what to do with it. So I divided it up into three, wrapped it in baking paper and stuck it in the oven for a little while. I also served it with the red wine gravy recipe I linked to in the previous post.

It turned out well. It was certainly yummy. We only made half the gravy and didn't strain it although I would recommend making all of it and straining off the onion. At any rate it was a tasty dinner and not something I've ever cooked before.

Dessert was also from the same recipe book. It was supposed to be a Banana Tofu Cheesecake but didn't taste at all like cheesecake. It still had some very nice, subtle flavours and wasn't too sweet. The description of the ingredients was a little confusing, though. It called for one and a half blocks of tofu. Exactly how big a block is I don't know. So here is my suggested take on the recipe.

Banana Tofu Cheesecake
1 200g block of soft tofu
1 orange
175g coconut cream (it asks for creamed coconut but I don't know what that is so I just got a can of coconut cream and tried not to shake it and took the thick separated part off the top)
4 bananas + one extra for topping
1 flan case
1 small lemon

Mash tofu and bananas in a bowl with finely grated orange and lemon rind and their juice. Add all other ingredients and mix well and pour in flan case. Bake for approx. 30 minutes (I had it in there for 90 minutes, though) at 150 C until golden brown. Leave to cool. Slice extra banana into some orange juice and arrange over flan. Sprinkle with some coconut. You top it however you like, really.

I didn't even bother trying to find a flan case. I just grounded up some Digestives and mixed it with some melted vegan margarine and baked it for 15 mins in the flan case. I cooled it and then added the filling.

I used a 2006 Shiraz Viognier in the red wine gravy. I think a redder Merlot would have been better. Geoff drank the rest of it with the dinner so not a drop went to waste. Very economical of him.

All in all, despite my shortcuts and shortcomings, I think it was a lovely dinner.

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