Wednesday, 23 January 2019

2018 Parental Birthdays

I love cooking for people, so every year I make a special feast for my parents on their birthdays (as well as Mother's and Father's Day, which you can see here).

Dad's Birthday (Mini Viva Vegan Recipe Round-Up by Terry Hope Romero):

My Dad is a big fan of Indian food, which is normally the theme of his special dinners. But this year he felt like a change. Chinese for Father's Day, and Latin Food for his birthday. I turned to Viva Vegan for all the recipes, which is a great cookbook that I don't use nearly enough.

Steamed Red Seitan: The first step was to make some lovely, flavoured seitan. This recipe was so easy, and turned out very well. The dough itself was quite wet, which worried be a little, but it firmed up beautifully when steamed. I used garlic powder in the dry mix, rather than fresh garlic in the wet mix, just for ease. The recipe I was making only needed half a recipe of the seitan, so I have frozen the other half for future use.
Rating: :)

Steamed Red Seitan

Seitan Saltado (Peruvian Seitan and Potato Stir-Fry): My dad loves seitan, which is why I picked a seitan-based recipe. This recipe involves mixing a stir-fry of seitan and veggies with baked french fries, and is a great combination of flavours and textures. I only used half the amount of potato to make the fries, which was the right amount for us. The seitan is marinated briefly, and once again I used garlic powder instead of fresh garlic. You mix the fries in at the end, and want to serve this ASAP so things don't get too soggy.
Rating: :)

Seitan Saltado (Peruvian Seitan and Potato Stir-Fry)

Pan-Grilled Vegetables in Chile-Lime Beer: This is super easy to make. A marinade of Mexican beer, lime, garlic, and paprika (which I used in place of chile powder, so they aren't really in chile-lime beer). I used a mix of green zucchini and asparagus for my vegetables.
Rating: :)

Pan-Grilled Vegetables in Chile-Lime Beer

These two recipes were suggested to be served together in the menu section of the book, and it was a nice combination. Along with some white rice as well.

Pan-Grilled Vegetables in Chile-Lime Beer; Seitan Saltado; White Rice

Chocolate Orange Spice Cake with Dulce De Batata: In the full recipe, this cake is four layers - two baked cakes cut in half. I decided to halve the recipe, but the single cake that came out was so thin and moist I knew it would be problematic to cut. So I made another cake, essentially the full cake recipe, but only served it as two layers. I had a half recipe of the dulce de batata, which is a delicious sweet potato sweet mash, to fill the cake. The cake has orange juice, orange extract, and a mix of spices. I couldn't taste the orange flavour very strongly, but the spices came through well.
Rating: :)

Chocolate Orange Spice Cake with Dulce de Batata

Mum's Birthday

Mum's birthday recipes came from a mix of different books.

Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts from Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman: I wasn't the biggest fan of these, but my mum really liked them. The bacon recipe in the book is a blend of pureed TVP and gluten flour, and I found it a very springy dough almost impossible to roll out the way the recipe implied it should. I ended up just kind of wrapping it around the water chestnuts the best I could. I also found the seitan bacon a bit smooshy. They are quite smoky in flavour, so the suggestion of dipping in maple syrup was very good.
Rating: :|

Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts

Deconstructed Bahn Mi Salad from Quick-Fix Vegan by Robin Robertson: I had made this salad a few weeks before my mum's birthday, and she loved it so much she requested it again. As written, it is a mix of sauteed seitan or tofu on a salad of cabbage, carrot, cucumber, and coriander. I skipped the first step by using a packet of Soyco Japanese Flavoured Tofu, and I also subbed out the cabbage for baby cos. Too much raw cabbage is not great for my tummy. I also skipped the scallions, as raw onion is also not the best. The salad is dressed with a hoisin-based dressing (I left out the sritacha and instead let people drizzle that on top as well if they wanted some heat), and surrounded by toasted baguette slices spread with mayo. It is so refreshing and delicious.
Rating: :D

Deconstructed Bahn Mi Salad

Brooklyn Blackout Cake: This cake isn't the prettiest, but it was fun to make. Two chocolate cakes are baked, then cut in half (unlike the cake I made for my dad, they were high enough to do this with). Three layers become the layers of the cake, the fourth is crumbled in the food processor. The three layers and then filled, and then everything is covered, in a chocolate pudding before the reserved cake crumbs and pressed all over the outside. For the pudding, I used a mix of light coconut milk and soy cream, rather than all coconut milk. I also baked the cakes in two 8 inch pans, rather than 9 inch pans, which needed an extra 10 minutes to bake through. I took the option for using cold water in the cake mix, rather than cold coffee, as I don't do caffeine. As you can see, my end appearance was a bit on the lumpy side, but it tasted good!

Brooklyn Blackout Cake

Brooklyn Blackout Cake

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Cave Dwelling Dim Sim

A rare photo of the chair cave dwelling Dim Sim.


  1. I miss seitan so much! I used to love experimenting with it and making all different kinds. Le sigh.
    You are quite the baker! I'm seriously impressed with both cakes!!
    I love the bahn mi salad! It looks and sounds delicious. I need to make that minus the bread!!
    Hi beautiful Dim Sim!

    1. We made the salad once using croutons instead of the bread, if you found some GF bread you could try that?

  2. Those cakes look amazing! I don't think I've actually have had a brooklyn black out cake before. Maybe I should do that this year for my birthday! that other cake with the sweet potato looks awesome too. So many choices! lol

    I made those beer veggies as well. They were pretty good.

    1. I've never heard of the cake until I made it, but it is definitely worth making at least once! A birthday is a good occasion. :)

  3. I used to be OBSESSED with Viva Vegan. I made so many recipes in it, and seitan saltado was one of my favorites. I really need to pull it back out again after seeing your post.