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Kate L Pugh - Cookery Diary

This is highly experimental. Don't be surprised if I get fed up of updating it. It's dual-purpose - first, it'll give new vegans or people thinking about becoming vegan an idea of what a real actual vegan eats day-to-day; and second, it'll encourage me to cook properly instead of living on toast.

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Week Beginning Sunday 18 March 2001

I had a long weekend in London and Cambridge at the start of this week. Lots of travelling, but fun! I got back to Oxford on Monday evening, just in time for Tesco Direct. I came down with a cold/sore throat thing halfway through this week, but still managed to get a reasonable amount of cooking done, through putting some thought in and avoiding too much actual effort (let the oven do the work...)



Even though I didn't feel like standing around stirring stuff tonight, I still got a fair bit of preparation done. I sliced some red and green (bell) peppers and tossed them with a bit of oil, then put them in the oven to roast until they were just tender. I also marinaded some thin slices of tofu in soy sauce, lemon juice and garlic, then baked them until the marinade was gone and the pieces were firm but not burnt. The tofu took longer than the peppers, so when the peppers came out of the oven I put them in a tub, cleaned the oven dish, and put some chopped leeks in to roast as well, again tossed in a bit of olive oil. The leeks dried out and browned a bit too quickly, so I covered them with foil to keep them moist. I plan to use some of the peppers in sandwiches; I ate half of the tofu when it came out of the oven, and the rest will probably also go in sandwiches or just as a snack; the leeks might make the basis of a stew, or they might go on pasta, like my Caramelised Leeks Over Noodles recipe.

Just before I went to collapse in bed, I made tomorrow's packed breakfast: a wholemeal (English) muffin filled with more cannellini bean spread and some of the roasted green peppers. I was too tired to think about doing a packed lunch.


This week's "pick vegetables randomly from the Tesco Direct site" ended up with me having both mushrooms and broccoli, so I thought that Vegetable and Lentil Stew might be nice; but I turned out to have run out of lentils. So I used mung beans instead of the lentils, and coconut milk (from a can) instead of tomatoes, left out the soy sauce and red wine, and added some black onion seed along with the cumin, and some dhana jheera with the coconut, to thicken it. Mung beans take longer to cook than lentils, so I parboiled them separately first. It turned out quite nice.

I did another bean spread and roasted pepper muffin for tomorrow's breakfast, and got some of the Greek Lentil Soup (that I made the other week) out of the freezer for tomorrow's lunch, plus a couple of slices of wholemeal bread.


I thought I'd at least attempt cooking this evening, even though I didn't really feel like eating much. I had an aubergine, half a fennel bulb, some mushrooms and some more peppers in the fridge, so I decided to do a kind of ratatouille. I haven't really got a recipe for this. I sauteed sliced onions, sliced fennel, thickly-sliced peppers, large-diced aubergine and sliced mushrooms all separately, one by one, in olive oil, then mixed them in a pyrex bowl with a can of good chopped tomatoes (Cirio brand) and plenty of garlic puree. I was going to put it all in a saucepan and simmer it, but feeling lazy, I covered it with foil and baked it instead, stirring once or twice. This turned out to have been a really good idea; it got all rich and lovely. It made two portions, which went in the fridge. I'd also done a couple of portions of rice in the rice cooker, since I'd been planning on eating this for supper, but again those just went in tubs for future use.

I'd also set some falafel mix soaking earlier in the evening, so I kind of had to cook that too. I don't usually deep-fry, since I hate the smell, but it really is the best way to do these. I do them in a kind of combination of deep- and shallow-frying, in a wide pan with enough oil to come halfway up the falafel and turn midway. I did some tahini sauce to go with them - mix tahini (sesame paste) with some garlic puree and lemon juice to taste, and plenty of water to thin it out. It should look kind of yogurty when it's done. I fed some of the falafel to my housemates, and put some into an English muffin with tahini sauce for tomorrow's breakfast. There were a few left over.


Off work sick, feeling bleh.

No actual cooking this evening, though I did assemble some English muffin sandwiches for breakfasts - two with bean spread and roast peppers, two with falafel and tahini sauce - and froze three of them, leaving out a falafel one for tomorrow's breakfast.


Hahahahaha, thought I'd be better today. No chance.

Despite not really feeling like eating, I felt the urge to use up some of the storecupboard ingredients that I've been accumulating for the past year and a half. I also had some carrots and dwarf beans getting bored of being in the fridge, some frozen sweetcorn kernels getting past their best, and a partly-used jar of Dolmio pasta sauce that needed using up. I chopped a couple of large carrots, sliced a handful of the dwarf beans, chopped a yellow pepper and mixed them in a pyrex casserole dish with a couple of handfuls of frozen sweetcorn, a drained and rinsed can of kidney beans, a drained and rinsed can of pinto beans, and the remaining Dolmio sauce (probably about 400ml), then covered it with foil and baked it in the oven for about 2 hours at Gas Mark 7, stirring once or twice. Turned out nice. I had some of it over rice, and the rest went in tubs in the freezer.

I also froze the leftover baked ratatouille and mung bean stew from earlier in the week - one portion each. I'd expected to have eaten them by now, but the cold took away my appetite. Still, I now have a fair stock of stuff in the freezer, which is useful.

Now left in the fridge was: more carrots, some very ancient parsnips, some sugar snap peas (probably past their best), half a head of nice broccoli, a dozen slightly withered dwarf beans, half a can of coconut milk and a packet of tofu. (Plus the rest of the roasted peppers and leeks from Monday, and a bit of bean spread, but they're not really going to be a problem to use up.)

OK, so I thought to do a vaguely Thai-like thing with the broccoli, sugar snap peas, tofu and coconut milk. I grated about a cubic inch of ginger very finely and mixed it with a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce, some garlic puree and a bit of cold water, then cut the tofu into small pieces (say 2 cm square by 5mm high) and marinated them in the soy sauce mix for about an hour. I fried them in peanut oil (very good for stopping things from sticking) in my heavy-based non-stick frying pan, having shaken off the excess marinade from each piece first. They worked really well; the marinade permeated the tofu well, and the texture was also good. You need to make sure you don't try and move the tofu around in the pan before a crust has formed on the bottom, since it'll stick and break. Prod it gently and if it's ready to move, it will. I put these in a bowl in the fridge for tomorrow, and poured the remaining marinade into the jar with the coconut milk, to make the sauce.


Only thing of any note today was what I did with the tofu I prepared last night. I stirfried the broccoli and sugar snap peas, then added the coconut milk and reserved marinade and simmered for a bit, then added the tofu pieces and simmered a bit more to reduce the sauce and heat up the tofu. Served it over rice and it was nice. If I'd not fried the tofu in advance, I'd have just put it on top of the coconut and vegetable stew, to keep it crispy.