White Sauce Failure

Yesterday was a very busy day for me, so I had carefully planned out my meals in advance. I was craving a creamy mushroom pasta sauce; as a child I loved the Sainsbury’s pour-over pots which we had with filled tortellini (the mushroom sauce doesn’t seem to be sold any more, and at any rate isn’t vegan) so I hunted online for a simple recipe which would be quick to make and fill that gap.

This recipe by PETA was the one I settled on, as it looked quite simple and didn’t call for any ingredients I didn’t already have, except for parsley because I hate parsley. Ugh, parsley. Anyway. Once I’d got home I quickly gathered together my equipment – harder than you might think, as my kitchen was slowly disappearing under a mountain of dirty dishes which I am about to start washing once I’ve finished this post – and started loosely following the recipe. As usual I dispensed with the idea of measuring and weighing, and just put a single portion of spaghetti onto boil while I made up the sauce.

White sauce has never been my strong point. I simply can’t manage to avoid making it lumpy! This time, I think I went wrong at the margarine stage, as it very quickly became a lot of dry lumps and when I started slowly adding the soya milk, the lumps got a bit smaller but never vanished. In the end I sieved the sauce so that almost all the lumps had gone, and ate the resulting thin liquid with the garlicy mushrooms. It was nice, but would have been a lot nicer if it had been a thick creamy sauce (and if I’d had time to flavour it properly – I was against the clock after all the stirring and sieving). Apologies for not having a photo but as I said, I was in a hurry and simply wolfed the plate of pasta down before sprinting out of the door.

I will try again soon, because if I can make a good white sauce then a lot more recipes will be available to me! I’ve managed it in the past under direction so it is possible… Next time I might try following these directions, which do things in a different order to the ones I’ve tried before. I’ll keep you posted!

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Still here and still cooking… honest!

I’ve made a few things lately that I’ve thought “I should blog about this!” and then never have done so. Do not fear! I will be back with new recipes soon enough – although not quite as soon as I’d have hoped, because due to an administrative confusion I am completely out of vegetables with no certainty of another box arriving any time soon (but on the other hand it could arrive tomorrow… so I don’t want to go and buy anything just in case!).

I will leave you with the news that I had some vegan Christmas pudding ice cream yesterday and it was the most amazing thing I have ever eaten.

Red Pepper and Lentil Pie

In preparation for last week’s dinner party I had bought two 300g packets of ready-rolled JusRol pastry, because the recipe needed 500g. (Incidentally, there are three reasons that I buy ready-rolled pastry: 1 I do not have a rolling pin, or much counter space for rolling. 2 JusRol pastry is vegan, and vegan fat is tricky to work with. 3 I am lazy.) I should have remembered that the last time I bought two packets of JusRol pastry for a 500g recipe, I only ended up using one of the packets – presumably because machines can roll pastry thinner than people bother with, which should be number 4 on my list – but I did not remember that so I bought two.

Red pepper and lentil pie with cabbage, broccoli and potatoes

And therefore I had a packet left over! I also had half a red bell pepper and a whole sweet red pepper, so I googled “vegan red pepper pie” and came across this recipe which looked delicious and didn’t need any ingredients I didn’t already have, except parsley because I hate parsley. Ugh. Anyway. Since I already had the pastry, and I’d actually remembered to take it out of the fridge in advance of wanting to use it so that it would unroll neatly, I set to work. Continue reading

Tiny-Flat Dinner Party

Last weekend I was chatting to my friend after church and spontaneously invited her to come for dinner this weekend, when my dad and Gill were visiting. I enjoy cooking for several people, even though I have a tendency to get flustered at the last minute, and I thought it would be a fun evening. I was delighted when she said yes, and began thinking about what we’d eat.

And then I got home and remembered that I only own two folding stools and my flat isn’t big enough to fold out the whole table and sit around it. Oops.

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Slow-Cooker Vegan Winter Vegetable Stew

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That’s quite a mouthful of a name! But it was much less complicated to cook. I chopped up a swede, a large potato, a few carrots and several leaves of Savoy cabbage, discarding the tough stem, stuck them all in the slow cooker with about 800ml of vegetable stock (this is really something you have to approximate based on your knowledge of your slow cooker – mine doesn’t lose a lot of liquid at all so I usually end up putting too much in). I also diced an onion and fried it up with some herbes de Provence, and stirred that in. I set it to cook for seven hours, and an hour before it was due to finish cooking I tested the vegetables, tasted the stock and added a dash more of the dried herbs.

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Spontaneous Advance Cooking Bonanza

Until next month, I have Fridays off from uni as a study day. Wednesdays are a study day as well, and I have been going into the university library on Wednesdays but because I am now working some Saturday mornings in the local shop and getting up either for church or running on Sundays, I’ve given myself Fridays as a home study day. Or a home cooking day…

Today, I was expecting my regular delivery of fruit and veg but it doesn’t seem to have arrived. I suspect that my request to increase my order to weekly might have slipped through the net, which may be a good thing – I’d used almost none of the vegetables from last week and not a great deal of the fruit. Mostly, this is because I’ve been staying in the library too late and then rushing home and cooking pasta and some kind of quick topping for dinner. Continue reading