Sunday, 7 December 2008

First Times

I guess since this is my first post, I should say a bit about myself.

I've been a vegetarian since I was 15, and at the moment, I'm about 50/50 vegan. I want to become fully vegan, but now isn't the right time for it. However, now is a good time to have a 'play' and see what might work in the future :) I think I'm 15 years of vegetarianism is enough to learn the basics of a meat free life, and I can move onto an animal product free life eventually. (That means I'm 30, I'll save you the maths)

For the past, oooooh, 2 months maybe? I've been reading a lot of vegan blogs, however, most of them are US based. This means that a lot of the products they review are not available in the UK. For a good 3 or 4 years I've really wanted to try seitan... but I've never seen any in the shops. All the 'use vital wheat flour' is very nice.... but again, not on sale.

Now, the option open to me was to make my own from scratch. This sounded hard... in fact, this sounded very hard. I wasn't impressed with the idea. Repeatedly squshing things in cold water sounded cold... and wet, and hard work. This did not sound fun.

Suddenly it hit me. Is have a breadmaker... would that work? Well I'll have the answer later on when I go to cook it won't I? :)

My current Vegan excitement of choice is The Dolce Vegan, by Sarah Kramer... so I took a recipe out of there.

Exact Quantities changed to protect the innocent

2 Cups Wholewheat Flour
2 Cups Plain Flour
2 Cups Water

  • Stick in breadmaker.
  • Look at in suspicious manner
  • Start breadmaker on dough
  • Let it mix it up to a big blob.
  • Rest to 30 mins.
  • Restart breadmaker
  • Add cold water
  • Turn off breadmaker and pour out white water
  • Add more water. Restart breadmaker
  • Keep doing this with hot and then cold water, until the water doesn't runs mostly clear.
  • Finish with some cold water.

At this point I thought 'Hang on... isn't this supposed to make 2 big or 4 small portions?'

Simmer ~(covered) for an hour in 2 cups of herbed broth.. stirring every ten mins until broth is reduced. After about two minutes it became very clear that it was going to 'puff up' so I suddenly felt a lot less upset about buggering about for an hour only to end up with a fist sized lump of dough.

Anyway... Once it had absorbed all the juice, it was looooooooooooooooovly! I can't recommend this enough. This is tastier then any shop bought 'fake meat' I've eaten, and a lot less expensive too. I really should take some pictures next time!

Basically, at this point, you can use it like you would meat, Tofu or Quorn. It's very nice in curries, and also tasty turned into a burger and lightly fried in breadcrumbs. Yomp :O)

Try it... what have you got to lose?...apart from about an hour's time, which lets face it, you'll just waste anyway!

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