Saturday, 22 August 2009

Cookbook challenge is almost here!

So, the PPK cookbook challenge starts tomorrow (well, technically Monday, but I'm starting tomorrow). The point of the cookbook challenge is to get us to use our vast array of cookbooks in a structured way, so that we can share experiences and favourites and try new things that we might not have. We're meant to make at least three recipes from the book chosen for that week and post in the forum about how we got on. The first book is Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. I'm super excited. I already have my recipes picked out, including at least one dessert (so I can make use of my oat flour), and I'll be posting as I go along. Hopefully this will be good practice for VeganMoFo.

I went back to the Edinburgh Farmers' Market today for the first time in at least a month. I'd been missing Swiss chard and was hoping to find some good stuff to use for the challenge. To be honest, I stopped going because basically one side of the market is almost entirely comprised of meat producers, with some of them offering cooked meat products at the stalls, and frankly, it makes me a little nauseous. It would make my life a lot easier if the meat producers were all on one side and the non-meat people (even the cheese toasty people) were on the other. Oh well. I'm hoping that today's score is indicative of increasing variety, which would at least temporarily alleviate my other problem - they had the same stuff every week. But this week, I got my standard greens (chard and spinach, though I could've gotten kale as well), but I also got two lovely squashes. One was a 2Kg spaghetti squash, the first time I've seen one since I moved to the UK. The other was this lovely squash that they couldn't identify, but PPKers identified as a kabocha:

I've been told that it's best when it's left to its own devices for a few weeks, otherwise it pretty much tastes like courgette. So, I'll be saving that beauty for a later challenge. Anyway, the chard went into a delicious Swiss Chard Frittata (recipe in Vegan Brunch), and I'll figure out what to do with the spinach later.

I also managed to find a use for the carob chips my sister brought from the US (she was supposed to bring chocolate chips), and here are the results:

The Best Pumpkin Muffins from Vegan with a Vengeance. Not the best picture, I must admit, but they were tasty as hell. I almost always make modifications to the recipe when I make them, but they are by far the best muffins I have ever eaten in my life, regardless of how I change them up. This batch had about 1/2 c of carob chips, used only 3/4 c of sugar, subbed half the oil with applesauce, and subbed the flour as follows - 3/4 c plain flour, 1/2 c wholemeal pastry flour, 1/2 c spelt flour (also, the recipe in the book, which is what I use, doesn't have soy yogurt). The sweetness of the carob balances out the 'healthy' taste of the flours, even with 1/2 cup less sugar than the original recipe. These also do really well with chocolate chips, and I would imagine they would taste alright with some kind of berry, if you go in for that sort of thing.

Anyway, hopefully I'll be able to post my first cookbook challenge experiences tomorrow. Yay! Also, I just realised that it kinda looks like I'm whoring for Isa since I've posted all but one of her (and Terry's) books. I'm really not - I just love the books, and they happen to be the ones I use most. Part of why I'm taking part in the cookbook challenge.

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