Vegan MoFo 15

Vegan MoFo 15

September 02, 2015


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Possibly the most common breakfast that I've read about in the Chalet School books is rolls. Often with cheese. Despite their infuriating insistence on calling oatmeal porridge, they observe the continental custom of having bread and cheese sandwiches for breakfast. It may seem pretty weird to some people - but it's actually not that bad. It would also be really great if you were trying not to have too much sugar. Not so great if you're trying not to have to much salt. It's also quick, easy and can be made in advance. 

Is there anything not to like? 

Seriously- they really knew what they were doing these guys. 

I've not had that much experience with vegan cheese- I've had Tofutti brand before- and liked their cream cheese, and their slices were okay. But the store where I used to buy that have stopped selling it. I saw a supermarkets own brand of vegan cheese- and thought I might give it a go... there must have been some scope for using some vegan cheese in MoFo - right? 

Um... wrong. Especially THAT cheese. 

I decided that I would try out some of their cheese spread and a block of (bright orange) hard cheese. As soon as I opened the packet of the hard cheese... it got thrown out. It.... there was no way that I was using that. For anything. The cheese spread actually made contact with another food stuff... but then Mom tried it by accident- and I decided that after she had tried it there was no way I was following her. The batch- and the rest in the container - had to go. 

I may have been put of store bought vegan cheese for life. It's just not that great. 

(I've heard there are some great ones in the US- however- we can't get those over here in the UK.) 

I decided to make cashew cheese. My thinking was that nothing (NOTHING) could be worse than the stuff that I bought from the store. 

I made the 'Ultimate Cashew Cheese' from Dreena Burton's 'Plant Powered Families'. Just to let you know- it's thousands of times better than the store bought stuff. I mean- even when I accidentally added way too much apple cider vinegar (I got knocked when I was pouring) it tasted good. 

So when I had the cheese sorted- it was time for the rolls. 

It didn't specify whether it was white or brown bread- or not that I've found yet from the books that I've read. 

So I went with an Tyrollean Swartzbrot. 

Or at least I think I did. I used a combination of two recipes - one of which is in German. I've not studied any German since I was 14. So if this is actually nothing like it was supposed to be... all that I can say is that I'm sorry! 

Mainly adapted from this recipe
  • 1 1/2 cups of rye flour
  • 1 teaspoon of quick yeast
  • 1 1/3 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 cups of strong white flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of allspice
  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1/2 a cup of mashed potato
  • 1 tablespoon of treacle or molasses (I used Sweet Freedom Dark)
  • More strong white flour to knead in- you could possibly be using up to another 1/2 cup here 

  • Mix together the rye flour, quick yeast and water together in a bowl- cover with cling film and leave- either all day or overnight
  • Mix in the bread flour, salt and spices. 
  • If it isn't too sticky- transfer the dough to a heavily flowered surface- if not- get as much flour on your hands- and start kneading. You might be kneading a lot of flour in- if you need to add more to make it knead-able. If possible- do this for at about five minutes. If it really isn't possible to knead it properly- know it about with a wooden spoon as much as you can. 
  • Add the potato and the treacle. And knead this in for about five minutes. You're going to have to use more flour here as well. (Rye flour has a low gluten count and so is wetter and stickier than normal bread doughs) (or that's what it says on the packet any way.) It should be at least a little but elastic. 
  • Recover and leave in a warm (ish) place for 1-2 hours- until it's doubled in size. 
  • Knock it back down and either shape it or place it in your baking pans (so far I've always found that it's to sticky for shaping) 
  • Let rise for another hour (so this is no quick fix bread!) whilst you preheat the oven to 250C
  • Cook the bread for 15 minutes before you turn down the heat to 210C. How long you cook it now depends on if you've kept the bread as one loaf- or split it into rolls (and it's perfectly okay to cook them in muffin pans). If it's one loaf- for another 25 minutes. If it's rolls- probably about 10 minutes less. Keep checking them- they're done when they sound hollow underneath. If you're cooking them in cake pans- hope that when they sound hollow on top they sound hollow underneath too!

September 01, 2015

What Else Would You Do When Stuck On A Bus

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Sorry for the less than stellar photo... the dark comes quickly!

In one of the books - a group of girls (Joey and a few teachers) gets stuck on a bus. In a storm. Overnight. On a mountain.

It's not that big a deal really. Stuff like that happens all the time in the Chalet School. They once had to spend a night halfway up the mountain in a thunder storm (in the open air not a bus). Once they were flooded and water came into the school and they all had to stay upstairs. They fall into rivers/lakes a lot. That sort of thing... being stuck on a bus isn't that horrific in comparison.

But what do the mistresses do when they know they are stuck on a bus full of girls in a storm overnight with no food? They ask for any sticks of chocolate to be sent back to them. And they make hot chocolate for the girls (they have some sort of portable stove - obviously. What - you don't carry some sort of portable stove with you?) Which is full of excitements in itself... Using the tin the the stove comes in as a saucepan. The lid falling in....

The excitement that I can't work out is that.... they've got the chocolate. But what about the milk. They had to cater for two more meals then they should have done.... surely they didn't have enough milk with them to give every girl a cup of hot chocolate? Or did they use water. Or did they  just literally heat up chocolate and have the thickest hot chocolate ever?

At any rate. I used milk. And a stove. And I didn't do it while stuck on a bus. It probably didn't taste as good.

Hot Chocolate
Serves 1

  • 1 serving of vegan chocolate (this kind of depends on the chocolate I guess.... I used Moo Free chocolate and used one horizontal row of squares.... I think for most bars of chocolate this is about 4 squares.) 
  • 1 cup of plant milk (I have found that oat milk is the best for heating up like this - but this is quite possible up to the brand that you use. I used Oatly - which worked very well, bur just use your favorite) 

  • Using a small pan, gently heat the milk. Stir it occasionally. If it forms a skin (which some do) just stir it in. You (probably) won't be able to tell when you drink it! 
  • While the milk is heating up- chop up the chocolate into very small pieces. I would say aim for cutting each square into six at least. 
  • When the milk is simmering, take it off the heat. Add in the chocolate, wait a few seconds, and whisk. Let the heat of the milk melt the chocolate on it's own (this is why you need very small pieces.) If you have one of those mini milk frothers.. use that as your whisk. 
  • CAREFULLY transfer to your favorite mug. The milk may not be boiling but it's still hot. 
  • Enjoy. Without vegan marshmallows or anything like that. Pretend you're on a bus. In a storm. Up a mountainside. Overnight. It tastes better. 

Powdered of Course

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I really wish I had the exact quote- but the general gist is...

"Scrambled eggs.... just powdered of course". 

Of course the scrambled eggs are made from powder. They're made from chickpea flour (or gram or besan flour). The best type of powder for making scrambled eggs. 

The actual comment was due to the rationing - eggs were rationed during WW2 (along with pretty much everything else) and so scrambled eggs would of been made with some sort of weird chemically manufactured powdered stuff. I like the sound of chickpea flour better- don't you? Plus- chickpea flour is cheaper. Perfect for a student (12 days till I go!!) 

So... here is eggs for breakfast... but "powdered of course.". 

Scrambled "Eggs"
Serves 1

This recipe has evolved from several that I have found over the years, but mainly this one, that I then adapted to suit me better. 

  • 1/4 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/2 cup plant milk (I would use the 1/4 cup twice- it saves on the washing up)
  • 1 Tablespoon of Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1/8 teaspoon of turmeric (optional- but it makes it prettier)

  • Whisk all the ingredients together in a jug which is easy to pour from (because I have never got mixture all over the counter and the hob because I tried to pour it out of a bowl)
  • Heat some oil in a frying pan and pour the mixture in
  • Now- I haven't really got the hang of this bit. I have found that the best way to make scrambles is to make it like your making an omelet and then break it up into 'scrambles'. But I have found that even if you are going to try and 'scramble' it properly- it's better to leave it alone until it is at least partially set. Because there is considerably less risk of food poisoning- it doesn't matter if it's totally cooked or not- although the chickpea flour tastes bitter if it isn't cooked through (because I've never done that either!) Either way you decided to cook your scrambles- you possibly want it a little less cooked than if you were making an omelet (which you can also do with this mixture). 
  • Serve in a bowl or on toast. Or any other way you want to eat your scrambles. It's not that bad cold as part of a packed lunch. Especially with some cold vegan sausages and red sauce. 

Chalet School Porridge

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This is history guys. 

This is possibly the first and last time that I am going to call the stuff made with milk and oats into a delicious breakfast 'porridge'. It's oatmeal. Because quite simply- oatmeal is easier to spell. I mean seriously- porridge? 

Oatmeal's much easier. 

Despite this- in the Chalet School books- it's called porridge. Why- when they so often go with European customs- the 24 hour clock- the name of the dining room (Speisesaal)- and meals (Mitagessen- Abendessen). So WHY did they have to go with the hard word 'porridge'. I don't know what the German is for oatmeal- but it can't be harder than the English to spell... right? 

In the books- the porridge often appears in the morning (often along side the rolls) as 'hot bowls of porridge topped with butter and honey'. Now- I am all for a hot bowl of oats for breakfast.... I am not all about the honey and butter. I mean- a) I never use butter. b) I don't generally sweeten my oatmeal in that way. c)neither are MoFo friendly- so I'm just going to have to come up with something similar; but better - right? I mean- butter? On oatmeal? Weird. 

I did try replacing the butter (with the much nicer) coconut oil. But it just didn't feel right. I meal- this is the Chalet School. Even the European food is considered 'different' and practically exotic- there definitely wouldn't of had coconut oil. Not even for a non culinary use. Especially with rationing during 'The War Years'. So coconut oil was a no. To.... not in keeping with the fact that for the general population- coconut oil is barely used in 2015- never mind the first half of the twentieth century. 

So we'll move on and focus on replacing the honey. I could use maple syrup (which I do occasionally use to sweeten oatmeal). But.... although it does feature in one of the books when Joey has some that has been sent from Canada.... it was not right either. And my favorite books are when they are in Austria- so several years before Canada appears in the books. I could have used any liquid sweetener- but I just felt that the oatmeal (sorry- porridge) would become too sweet. Then I remembered Matron's Jam. I can't remember which Matron- but one of them makes good jam. And I can cope with jam on oatmeal. 

If it's very nice jam. Not technically jam but fruit spread... but there was a war going on. Sugar rationing and all that.... And just plain a bit nicer then traditional jam. 

Which means that we are back to replacing the butter. And here I chose the easy road. I just used a 'pat' of a vegan spread. It doesn't really have any amazing health benefits. It doesn't even taste that grate. But... It looks pretty. I'm serious. I didn't want to eat it because it looked so pretty as it melted and the light reflected on it. And it's a beautiful golden yellow color when melted. 

And you eat with your eye's first right? 

(serves 1) 

  • 1/3 of a cup of oats
  • 1 cup of milk (you're favorite kind- almond is my go-to, but I have found that oat is best when heating)
  • pinch of a mixed spice blend (like apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice) - or a pinch each of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. 
  • 1 teaspoon of vegan spread (I used a sunflower spread)
  • 1 tablespoon of jam (or fruit spread). If you have something amazing and homemade- even better!!!

  • Mix together the oats, milk and spice in a small pan and place on a low heat. 
  • Stirring constantly- heat until it has thickened nicely. Take your time over a low heat until it has thickened up nicely. If it takes a long time- yipee. If it takes longer than 10 minutes- be patient. It'll be worth it. You want it really thick. 
  • Transfer to a bowl and top with the vegan spread (if you can break it up into little bits across the top of the porridge- yeah!) and the jam (this is best left in one 'dollop' in the middle.) Leave it a few minutes before you dig in so the spread can melt and go all pretty. And try not to have too much of the vegan spread all in one go- cause it really doesn't taste all that grate.