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Cockonut August 16, 2009

Posted by tuimeltje in dinner, meals.
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Recently I bought a bunch of French beans thinking I could do fun things with them. For some reason I thought it’d be a nice idea to make sayur beans. No clue why, really. I’ve never had a particular desire for them before, or even eaten them at any point, and the bumbus (spice pastes) I’ve been able to find around here all contain trassi (some shrimpy thing) at the very least, which doesn’t make me buying and using them particularly likely.

Odd, really. Sayur lodeh en sayur beans seem to have the image of vegetable dishes, yet the bumbus I’ve found are generally not even vegetarian, never mind plants-only.

Still, the idea stuck and I figured there’d be no reason why I would be unable to make my own bumbu. Checking this wonderful web didn’t actually give me much to work with initially, since the bumbu bit of most Dutch recipes were “add X amount of bumbu sayur beans/lodeh” rather than “take XYZ and make a nice paste”.
That’s what you get with easily available spice pastes.

I did end up finding some, but none were specifically for sayur beans. This one, linked to in this post about sayur lodeh, was quite nice and clear and in my mind sayur beans is just sayur lodeh with more limited veg so I deemed it useful.

Of course I didn’t quite follow the recipe, because I never do, but it’s nice to see how other people do things so you can get a fair idea of how to go about it sensibly.
There were more reasons for not following the recipe besides a general habit, though. For one it seemed to make a larger amount than I expected to use. It also seemed slightly more complicated than I wanted, what with grinding, fresh chilis, galangal by the inch rather than the teaspoon, and more shallots than I had available.

This is what I used.

Ingredient-wise, my main deviation was the spices used. I used lemongrass, laos, ginger, and coriander, all powdered, rather than lemongrass, fresh laos, turmeric, and coriander.
It felt weird, not adding turmeric. Usually I chuck in what feels like a fairly liberal amound in anything I feel can do with a bit of that. Nor did I add cumin, another spice of which I generally make liberal use as it’s part of my Big Three of spices.*
The decision of which spices to use was made by checking the Conimex site for the spices used in their two sayur bumbus, checking sites about Indonesian cooking to see what kind of thing they recommended you put in your bumbus, and making sure to use lemongrass since I’d specifically purchased some to use for this.

I didn’t add the shallots either, but made up for that by sautéing a chopped shallot, chopped bottom end of a scallion, and two cloves of garlic. It’s the way I usually treat my Allium friends and for a first time I was more comfortable doing it this way.

Other ingredient differences were my use of kemiri (candle nut) paste instead of candle nuts and sambal ulek instead of fresh peppers. This was solely done for convenience, since it did away with the need to grind things and they were easier to find. I also added some soya sauce, since I didn’t see any directions about adding something salty and I just couldn’t leave that out.

My bumbu didn’t follow any direction as far as measurement goes. I just chucked in what seemed like a reasonable amount and mixed it up. Since I was using pastes and powder, it was very easy. No grinding, just stirring.

Assembly was simple and straightforward. I started by sauting the Allium stuffs for a few minutes, fixing up the paste while that was on, then I added the paste and let that sauté for a minute or two while stirring regularly. Then I added the cut-up French beans and let them sauté for a bit as well (still stirring) before adding the coconut milk.
Because the coconut milk was rather more watery than I wanted the final dish to be, I let it boil down for a while, giving my time to finish off the part baked ciabatta for sopping up whatever liquid was left.

sayur beans

It’s probably one of the greasier meals I’ve cooked, as you can probably see in the picture.
My one-serving meal contained an entire 165ml tin of coconut milk, rather more veg oil than strictly necessary for the sautéing, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the kemiri paste was fairly high in fat as well.
So while it didn’t look like, and really wasn’t, that big a plate, I did feel like I’d had plenty when I’d just finished half of it.
Still, because it didn’t look like that much and I learned to clean my plate, I ate the rest of it anyway, but was very glad I had the ciabatta near me to help.
It warmed my belly nicely, but left me with the bothersome nausea and lethargy I tend to get for a while after finishing a tasty but sizeable meal during which I ignore certain warnings. Something I, rather stupidly, continue to do even though I can deal with leftovers because apparently I don’t learn. Go me!
This dish, while not nearly as large as some I’ve eaten without a problem, was simply too rich.
Next time I make something like this I’ll have to add more veg to this amount of coconut milk and eat it as several servings over rice rather than on it’s own.
Provided I’ve learned, of course.

*The third is coriander, which I did end up using.


Tofu Joy August 11, 2009

Posted by tuimeltje in dinner, food.
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Yes, I’m at my aunt’s place again. You know what that means. Easy oven access. Hurrah!

Today I made an easy dish, one very similar to a dish I enjoyed last time I was here.
Watch the beauty unfold.

Gathered from my aunt’s kitchen and the nearby Asian supermarket.

*flavourings: paprika (hot), ground cumin, ground coriander, garlic powder, curcuma, laos powder, thyme, nutritional yeast, soya sauce

I used the entire bell pepper, half the tofu, five-ish of the potatoes (I’ll probably let you know how I used the ones I had left later), and however much I felt like of the spicy bits.

Layer 1: Bell pepper
Bell pepper

Layer 2: Potato and thyme (yes, it’s in there somewhere)

Selected precursors to layer 3: Spicy mix and crumbled tofu

Layer 3: Crumbled tofu mixed with spicy mix and soya sauce
Crumbled tofu mix

Layer 4: Semmelbrösel
[Not photographed]

After some 20(maybe 30)-ish minutes in the oven at about 180C-ish:

By and far, my favourite bit of this dish is the tofu. I never feel like I’m very good at tofu, yet this very easy way of preparing it leaves my tongue most content so maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself.

I keep adding breadcrumbs to oven dishes hoping it’ll give them a nicely browned and crunchy top, but that never quite happens. I just get a bunch of boring-looking crumbs on the top of my food, which, in this case, managed to get nicely brown and nearly crunchy anyway.
It doesn’t diminish the taste, provided I mix it all p a bit when putting it on my plate, so it’s not some big disaster or anything. It’s just a bit pointless.
Anyway, maybe I’ll remember to not automatically throw them on next time, which would actually make this dish gluten-free provided you use wheat-free soya sauce.

The way I made it it’s not a very big dish. As a meal, it comfortably fed me, but if you want to feed two people with a decent stomach you’d better get some side dishes.

Twitty August 9, 2009

Posted by tuimeltje in administrative, fandom veganism.
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Some administrative stuff again.

I added the two fandom veganism posts to this blog, since I don’t see myself maintaining that blog alongside this one. I considered deleting the blog, but that sort of thing makes me rather nervous. Also, the main reason I would want to delete it is to free up the name for someone else, but apparently that doesn’t happen. Since it’s probably possible to somehow give the name to someone else by adding users and whatnot, anyone interested in the name can contact me about that.

I also added some Twitter to this blog, simply because I can, and I’m considering changing the layout somewhat. The categories look a little messy in this one.

ETA: Fixed the category iffiness and found a way to make the clashing orange not be here anymore. Content now, will not switch themes.

Mite August 9, 2009

Posted by tuimeltje in food, review, snack, travel.
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I’ve just come back from the annual UK trip with the band (though no Sinead this year, unfortunately). This year was the 250th anniversary of the battle of Minden (big parade, unfortunately without Brigadier Coutts), so some Dutch re-enactors of KOSB-ness were sharing the barracks with us. It’s always amusing to expose new people to something like pb&kale sammiches.

While doing my usual enthusiastic grocery shopping I came across something so British I would’ve bought it even if I loathed the stuff.
The things I came across? Marmite rice cakes and Marmite breadsticks.

Luckily I’m rather fond of the stuff so I didn’t just buy it for the novelty value. While it’s not, as far as I know, particularly popular in the Netherlands, I’ve always had access to it. Not sure if my parents liked it (though they might have. My mum used to eat that smelly green Swiss powdered cheese. People eating that might eat anything), but my grandma always had it (should’ve bought here a bag too, perhaps…). I doubt I much cared for it until I went vegetarian or even vegan, but now? Good stuff.
So the idea of rice cakes and breadsticks, two foods my mum gave me as snacks when I was a kid, with Marmite, a food which is, to me, both very British and very family? Made me quite happy indeed.

The rice cakes were most tasty. Properly Marmite-y but not so much Marmite that the taste is overwhelming. The breadsticks, however, I didn’t like quite as much. They weren’t bad, just not as Marmite-y as I would have liked. They were kind of bland, only slightly more flavourful than your basic plain breadsticks. Shame, really. If they still exist next time I have the opportunity to buy me some I’ll stick to the rice cakes.


– – –

The day after we came home, we had a barbeque.
I’m not very good at barbeques. It’s not a social event that played a big part of my upbringing or something I have particularly fond memories of, and after going vegan, spending an evening watching dead bits get cooked is not exactly my idea of a fun time.
However, this one would be attended by some people who’d been unable to come along on the trip, two of whom had gotten some very good news while we were away and I really needed to hug one of them, and it’s just a lot of fun spending some non-musical social time with these people. They’re a good bunch.
So I went.
I had intended on making some fancy stuff to show that vegans can have great barbeque food, but I was too tired and lazy to even look up something about vegan barbequeing, so I ended up simply stopping by the supermarked I passed on the way to pick up some basics that would feed me well enough.
Being: A courgette, a box of cherry tomatoes, a baguette, two portabello mushrooms, and a bag of mixed green veg.

Using the courgette, the tomatoes, the host’s garlic and the host’s cool home-made skewers, I made more vegetable skewers than I would be able to eat that evening (sharing time!). The mushrooms I just oiled and roasted.

Before roast:

After roast, with additions.
Vegan BBQ - after

While fairly average food (portabellos could probably do with something more than just olive oil) and a lot of exposure to dead bits, I do like to count the barbeque evening as a success. I had a great time and my omni mates were positive about my food. They needed my urgings to eat some too more as an okay to eat “my” food rather than a bit of a push to eat the freaky, way too healthy stuff, which made me happy.
Of course, if they’d have framed courgette, tomato and garlic as something weird and freaky, only to be eaten on a dare or to cultivate their culinary edgy will-eat-anything image, I would have denied them the permission to ever eat Italian food again, so it was in their own best interest.

– – –

I’m still not entirely sure what Irn Bru reminds me of, but I’ve narrowed it down to something purple. Probably. Maybe brown.
Should match nicely with the orange, yeah.
Also? Walkers changed their crisps so now only the basic salty ones are vegan. Bastards. I don’t actually really like crisps, but I quite like having some Salt & Vinegar ones when in the UK just because they’re not available here and they have this sharp and rather acidic flavour which, while not wholly pleasing, is quite interesting.
The only portion-packaged S&V crisps not containing something obviously animal-derived were the McCoy ones, if I recall correctly, but they had a few things listed that I didn’t bother to try to pronounce even in my head, so I decided to just forgo crisps this year.
Luckily I found the Marmite stuff. Much better!

ETA: One thing that amused me terribly, for no other reason than the fact that it had a kangaroo on it and smuggling kangaroos into the UK makes me think of bouncy hijinks, is this DEFRA poster or what have you.


Tofu August 9, 2009

Posted by tuimeltje in fandom veganism, non-food veganness.
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Medium: Television
Show: MacGyver
Episode(s) mentioned: Out in the Cold (episode 38, season 2 episode 16 perhaps?)

Isn’t Tofu Icky?