Bakery-Style Berry Muffins

Happy MoFo hump day everyone!

Bakery-Style Berry MuffinsI’d planned on making a little Indian-inspired feast for my boyfriend and me, but then I didn’t feel very well all day and around dinner time I realised I wasn’t really inspired or motivated to do a lot of cooking. So I guess I’ll make samosas another day. Meanwhile, have a muffin! These are the Bakery-style Berry Muffins from Vegan Brunch and they are a favourite of mine. I used a little whole wheat flour (which I think always makes muffins just a little tastier) but other than that I stuck to the recipe, which is perfect. The mixed berries ensure that each bite is slightly different from the last and I especially love the huge chunks of juicy strawberry you occasionally get. The cake batter itself is really good, too – I love baked goods that use soy yoghurt. They might not be the healthiest of brunch items, but if you’re looking for a delicious & quick breakfast recipe I’d definitely recommend these muffins!

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Burgers and Muffin Tops

When I came home yesterday after spending the weekend with my parents, I wanted to make a meal my boyfriend and I would both love: veggie burgers!

Cajun Lentil PattyWhat I liked most about this meal was that it gave me the opportunity to try three recipes from other bloggers; the Spicy Cajun Lentil Patties from Heathen Vegan, the Burger Buns from Have Cake, Will Travel, and the Marvellous Mayonnaise from Graasland. I also chose to make these burgers because I really wanted to try out this nifty burger shaper my Mum gave me:

Burger pressJust scoop the mix into the mould, press down, and there you go, a perfect patty!

Shaping Burgers!Of course it’s not that hard to shape veggie burgers by hand, but using this tool is a quick way to get the patties perfectly round. And it’s fun!

Cajun Lentil PattyI think I added a little too much of the lentils (I forgot to measure them after cooking) because I got a few extra patties out of the recipe, but they’re delicious so I’m happy to freeze the leftovers! I made sure to finely chop the mushrooms so my boyfriend would eat them, and it worked – he loved these. Now I’d really like to make other mushroom/lentil burgers like this one, too.

The burger buns were perfectly soft and fluffy and yummy, although I’m glad I cut down on the sugar because they were almost too sweet for me. Next time I make the buns I’m also going to add the cornstarch wash Celine recommends. I’ve never made bread with such a wash before and I’d love to try these buns with sesame seeds!

The mayonnaise recipe is something I’d made before, and it’s one of my favourite homemade mayos. I was so excited the first time I made it and it started thickening as I added the oil (this had never worked for me before). I’m glad to have such a tasty and cheap alternative to store-bought vegan mayonnaise!

Caramel Apple Muffin TopsOur breakfast this morning was really good as well. I made the Caramel Apple Muffin Tops from 500 Vegan Recipes and although I made a few substitutions, they turned out so delicious! I loved the crunchy top combined with the sweet caramelised apple pieces. Sadly we already ate all of them, but I can’t wait to make them again. I think these would be great on a cold winter morning.

Sunny Picnic Food

Last Thursday, we decided it was a perfect sunny day to spend relaxing at the park. It was a little last minute so I didn’t have the time to put together a real picnic, but we had some leftover pizza dough which was just enough for two yummy focaccias.

Muffins & Focaccia

I topped mine with garlic, herbs, onions, olives, and a new (to me) vegan pizza cheese  – Wilmersburger Pizzaschmelz – which I’ll write more about in a later post. We used the dough recipe from Nonna’s Italian Kitchen and it is absolutely the best pizza dough I’ve ever made. I’m going to try to have a batch of the dough around as often as possible, because I love being able to whip up pizza or focaccia whenever the need arises!

Along with the bread, I also made us a batch of muffins. I wanted something summery and fresh, so a lemon flavour was perfect. I made the muffins using this recipe for Lemon Thyme Quickbread, which I’d made and loved before a few years ago. Apart from changing the recipe to turn it into muffins, I also used this clever shortcut to replace the soy yoghurt in the recipe. They turned out just as delicious as I remembered! Hopefully it won’t take me another three years to make the recipe again.

Lemon Thyme Muffin

Here’s a closeup of my muffin! That first bite was as much as I could eat before I was confronted by a big white goose who really wanted me to share. He almost scared me off with his loud hissing, but we decided to stay and watch the little goslings. Cute!

Baby geese!

Apart from eating, reading, and lying in the grass, we also managed to explore the park a little. We paid a visit to the Japanese garden, which is apparently only open to public during a few weeks each year. It was very pretty, so I’m glad we were able to see it before it closed!

Foods from my new home!

If you’re still reading this, I guess you’ve gotten used to the fact that I seem to be unable to make blog posts regularly. I’ve sort of accepted that fact myself, as well. However, I just noticed the last post I made wasn’t even from this year, and it’s already June 2011! So I guess it’s about time for a little update/catch-up post. Since I last posted here, my boyfriend and I went and found ourselves our own apartment, which means two things for this blog:

1. I now live in a large city with a number of vegetarian restaurants, a vegetarian butcher’s shop, and a bunch of other interesting specialty stores. I used to live in a tiny village, so this is pretty big for me.

2. We now have our own kitchen!

Both of these changes should provide me with plenty of food blogging material! Sadly, however, I haven’t been taking many interesting food shots so far. During the winter I tend to go into slumps where I hardly use my camera at all, mostly because nothing I make ever comes out looking pretty without good natural lighting. Now that summer’s almost here, though, I’m trying to take my camera with me more often. This also made me realise that I probably need a new one, because some of the buttons are broken and it really is kind of old… but I’m cheap, and it’s still working, so it will have to do!

Cheater Grilled Cheese

When we’d just moved and didn’t have that many ingredients around in our kitchen, I was really happy to find simple recipes like this Cheater Grilled Cheese from a PPK thread. It’s super easy and flexible, and delicious served with a generous helping of ketchup.

Blueberry Muffins

From that same pantry meals thread, I also made these blueberry muffins. Simple and tasty! The recipe isn’t that different from other blueberry muffins, so I guess muffins are just pantry-friendly by nature!

Unfried Fried Rice & Tofu Saté

This was one of the first actual meals we made: The Unfried Fried Rice from Appetite for Reduction, a tasty peanut sauce from Vegan with a Vengeance, and a few pieces of grilled tofu made with a marinade from 500 Vegan Recipes (I think it was the recipe for Tofu Satay). I made a few slight changes to each recipe, and they came together wonderfully! We had similar meals a few times after this and they were all equally yummy.

Irish Stew

Irish Stew with Potatoes and Seitan from Appetite for Reduction: good solid comfort food. This was the second time I made this recipe and I think I liked it better the first time, but that was mostly due to the type of broth I used. My seitan making skills aren’t perfect yet, either, but I’m getting better! As you can see, I subbed frozen peas for the green beans, which made this dish pretty pantry-friendly as well.

Hummus & Cucumber Toast

Toast with roasted red pepper hummus and cucumber! Kind of speaks for itself, but I wanted to post the picture ’cause it’s such a tasty combo.

Chickpea Wingz

Chickpea Wingz! I might have posted about these before, but they are really great! They’re a wonderful combination of the Chickpea Cutlets from Veganomicon and the Tempeh Wingz from Don’t Eat Off the Sidewalk, united in one recipe by Celine from Have Cake Will Travel. Both those recipes were already favourites of mine, so the idea of combining them is genius! I think they’ve also finally convinced my boyfriend that chickpea cutlets are actually delicious, versatile, and not scary, so I couldn’t be happier.

Falafel salad

While I adore big fluffy pitas stuffed with falafel and veggies and tahina, sometimes a tiny pita just can’t hold all the stuff I want to cram into it! That’s why falafel salads are awesome. And I can just have my bread on the side.

Vegetarische Slager Saté

Now, this sandwich was excellent. We got it from De Vegetarische Slager, Den Haag’s vegetarian butcher’s shop that makes delicious (and, apparently, realistic) vegetarian and vegan meat analogues. My lunch (pictured above) consisted of saté and coconut peanut sauce on one of their homemade bread rolls, while my boyfriend went for a meatball sandwich. I think it’s really awesome that these people are able to mimic meat dishes so well! I’ve shared their faux meats with my family a few times and everyone agrees that while the taste is delicious, it’s the texture that makes their products so unique and meat-like. My boyfriend and I would probably buy their stuff a lot if we had more money, but for now I guess it’s just for special occasions. I can’t wait to have lunch there again!

Pasteitje

Here’s a yummy pumpkin-topped puff pastry thing from a local restaurant called Baklust. I’ve posted about the place before, and this cute little cafe is still one of my favourites!

Cake!

And for dessert, a slice of orange coconut cake from that same cafe. It was good, but apparently they now also offer vegan chocolate cake, so I clearly need to go back to taste that one too!

Whew! I think I’ve covered most of what I wanted to share, so hopefully my next posts won’t be as random and picture-heavy!

VWAV Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin Muffins

I still had some pumpkin puree in the freezer that I needed to use, so I turned to a recipe that had been on my to-bake list for quite a while: The Best Pumpkin Muffins from Vegan with a Vengeance. I ended up making a few changes to the recipe (changed the quantities to fit the amount of pumpkin puree I had, added some whole wheat flour, used maple syrup instead of molasses), but they’re still amazing! I thought the batter seemed very thick so I figured I’d bake for a few minutes less than I normally would, but next time I’ll just stick to the regular baking time. They’re great! Go make them too!

Summer Breakfasts

Today was a long, cold, dark day. Seems like the perfect time to go through my photos from this summer and share a few breakfasts I’d been meaning to post! I don’t remember all the details about these, but I assure you everything was delicious.

Tofu scramble, roasted potatoes & veggies, strawberries

First up is this plate of tofu scramble (with almost more veggies than tofu, it seems), roasted vegetables and a few strawberries as a little dessert. I used the Roasted Root Vegetables recipe from Vegan Brunch as a base for the side dish, using potato instead of some of the roots. Loved this!

Blueberry Corn Pancakes

I made these Blueberry Corn Pancakes from Veganomicon as a treat for my boyfriend one morning because he usually really likes things with blueberries, and we both loved them! I definitely have to remember to make these again when I have blueberries around.

Poffertjes!

I also made poffertjes! I had made them before, using a recipe from a cookbook, but this time I adapted a basic recipe from Wikipedia. They were really tasty (and so much fun to make), so maybe I’ll try and post a recipe if I try them again in the future.

Pineapple Carrot Sunshine Muffins

Hmm, I think it was already autumn when I made these muffins, but their name definitely fits the summer theme: the Pineapple Carrot Sunshine Muffins from Veganomicon. Lena from the NVV forum recommended them to me, so I gave them a try, and they turned out perfectly! I didn’t have golden raisins, as you can see in the picture, but these were still a great success. They’re very moist and tasty and made for convenient snacks to take with me to classes (in my little cupcake container!)

Oh, I’m already looking forward to being able to enjoy summery breakfasts outside in the garden again. Meanwhile, I’ll keep enjoying delicious pumpkin-flavoured foods! More on that tomorrow.

Hi there!

Oops, sorry for the slight absence after my final London post! The new semester started last week so I’ve been a little busy with that. I’m enjoying my new classes, though, and one of them is during the evening, which means I either have to pack a quick dinner or buy my food at a restaurant. Homemade is obviously the cheapest option, and here’s what I packed today:

I made a batch of tomato soup (in the thermos) with chopped red & yellow bell pepper, carrot, corn, courgette, and spring onions and I added some chili powder and other spices as well. It was delicious! I only just discovered we actually had a thermos in the house, but I’m definitely going to use it to bring more of these hot soups when the weather gets colder.

On the left is a salad of sautéed tempeh, shallots and asparagus over a bed of lettuce mixed with yellow bell pepper and white grapes. There’s a balsamic dressing in the little container on the side. This was tasty, although next time I’d add more tempeh and use less balsamic vinegar because the salad was a little too sour for my taste, but the tempeh was really tasty. I used the Italian marinade from Vegan with a Vengeance, which is originally meant for tofu, but it worked nicely for the tempeh as well!

And next to the thermos in the little cupcake box is a delicious double chocolate muffin based on a Have Cake, Will Travel recipe. I love how the recipes uses whole wheat flour and is so low in fat, but I did add a spoonful of oil just to make sure they won’t dry out even if I keep them for a while. The muffin was the perfect treat to enjoy on my way home! Mmm. I just wish I’d used a different cupcake pan so the muffins would get a nice high top instead of spreading out in the liner, but hey – at least they taste great.

Crazy Rumors lip balm

Oh, and check out what I received in the mail today! I really needed some new lip balm due to the sudden cold weather, so I ordered three varieties of a product I’d been wanting to try for a while – Crazy Rumors lip balm! I thought it would be good to sample some different scents, so I got Apple Spice (tea scented!), Almond Fudge (ice cream!), and French Vanilla (coffee). I’ve been using the Apple Spice one today, because it’s the scent that appealed to me the most, and I love it! It truly smells like apple spice tea – when I just put it on, I felt like I was sitting with a lovely cup of tea under my nose all the time. In a good way! It feels wonderful and moisturising, too, so it’s just what I was looking for. I’ve only been using Lush lip balms up until now and I still like those, but the little tins can be inconvenient at times. These little tubes are much easier to apply!

I got the lip balms at Alice and Jo’s Havesentials, by the way, and I love them for carrying the Crazy Rumors brand, as I hadn’t seen it available anywhere else in the Netherlands. They were really quick, too – I placed my order on Sunday evening and got my little envelope of lip balms this morning. I can’t wait to try the other Crazy Rumors scents… mmm!

I have some old(er) photos that I need to put on here, too, but I’ll save those for a later post – for now, have a great day, and thanks for reading!