Archive | May, 2009

Tofu Cheesecake Experiment

31 May

As you may recall I particularly enjoyed a dessert I bought last week by a food company called Laura’s Idea, so I decided to see whether I could recreate it myself.

Attempt one seems to have gone pretty well. I used the ingredients on the pack as the base to my experiment, and I’ll share the recipe below. I’m pretty pleased with the base for the cheesecake, it’s absolutely delicious. I may have overdone the amount of agave nectar in the ‘cheesecake’ part, but we will see.

Vegan Tofu Cheesecake (based on the Laura’s Idea original)

Serves 2

Base: 1 tablespoon oats, 1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds, 1/2 tablespoon chopped hazelnuts, 1/4 tablespoon rasins, 1 teaspoon malt extract, 1 teaspoon apple juice, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Cheesecake: 1 pack firm silken tofu (I used blue dragon), agave nectar (to taste) and 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1. Put the oats, sesame seeds, chopped hazelnuts and rasins into a small blender and blitz together.

2. Pop this into a bowl and mix in the malt extract, apple juice and vanilla extract until it starts coming together (if it is a bit dry add a bit more apple juice).

3. Press this mixture into the bottom of 2 large ramekin dishes, and place them in the fridge to chill.

4.  Meanwhile, place a pack of firm silken tofu into the blender and blitz until smooth. Add the vanilla and the agave nectar to taste. Mix it all up, and then pour it into your ramekins on top of the base you popped in earlier. Put it back into the fridge and chill until you want it.

You can serve this Tofu Cheesecake with any topping you want to i.e. fresh fruit, fruit compote, or jam. Or just leave it plain if you prefer.

For a first effort I don’t think this is too bad. I’m actually quite pleased with it. I do want to have a go at tweeking it a little, and I’ve found a recipe for a chocolate version, which I wouldn’t mind experimenting with. I don’t think I would do much to the base though, as I am pretty pleased with that.

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Wholefoods Market London

31 May

I was in London on Thursday last week, and used the opportunity to drop into the Wholefoods Market store in Soho.

I discovered Wholefoods Market whilst I was in North Carolina in February for work, and have to say, fell in love slightly. I always enjoy exploring supermarkets overseas. I think it says so much about the people that live there, but Wholefoods Market was a total revelation. I was so excited when I heard that they had opened a few in London. Sadly, I think it may be a long time, if ever, before they reach north east England.

I digress.

I dropped in to collect a couple of bits for the train journey home. Seeing as I would be travelling when I usually have my evening meal I knew I would be starving, plus I’d eaten hardly anything all day because the venue for the meeting, who were providing lunch, had given me a fish salad. Tut. So what better place than Wholefoods Market to pick up something delicious for my evening meal?!

I chose a yummy salad, and a couple of other bits and bobs to go with it (how could I resist, everything looked amazing!) My first discovery was food by a company called Laura’s Idea. I chose a Tofu Pouch to go with my salad, and it was absolutely delicious! No wheat, and vegan too. (I’m not vegan, but do try to eat vegan as much as I can – I’m certainly heading in that direction anyway). It was stuffed with yummy vegetables and brown rice, and really filling. Just gorgeous!

Then for dessert I also picked up a Laura’s Idea product. This time it was a Tofu Cheesecake. I really miss cheesecake, but the base is wheat and I find the whole cheesecake bit too rich for me nowadays.

However, Laura’s Idea’s cheesecake was brilliant because it was wheatfree and the ‘cheesecake’ bit was made from silken tofu, so again it was vegan. It was absolutely amazing.

So, for all the lucky souls living in London, I highly recommend Laura’s Idea products to you. I’m going to have a bash at making the Laura’s Idea Tofu Cheesecake myself today, I will let you know how it goes!

Also discovered in Wholefoods Market was a pack of 2 vegan Espresso Chocolate Truffles by a company called Booja-Booja based in Dorset. Yum.

I’m back in London in a fortnights time for a meeting. Guess where I will be going?!

The Waiting Room 2

31 May

Last nights trip to The Waiting Room was as excellent as anticipated. We had a really lovely evening, with some absolutely delicious food.

Given that we knew the servings are huge there (and the fact that V had her eye on the crumble on the dessert board) the three of us decided to share a starter.

Antipasti starter

Antipasti starter

And how nice does that look?! And I have no idea what they had marinated the mushrooms in, but they tasted amazing!

The main courses, as always, all sounded absolutely delicious and as usual we all really struggled to decide what to have. L, a vegetarian, had never been to a vegetarian restaurant before and was knocked over by the amount of choice she had on the menu.

I chose the Chickpea, Red Pepper, Smoked Paprika Goulash with bubble and squeek cake, and it was delicious! V chose an amazing looking Asparagus & Hazelnut Roulade with pea crème freche, whilst L chose Cashew, Feta and Spring Onion Plait with tomato and basil sauce and pea puree.

Asparagus and Hazelnut Roulade This is V’s Asparagus and Hazelnut Roulade, doesn’t it look yummy? Sadly I couldn’t try because it had wheat in, but she tells me it was delicious.

Cashew, Feta and Spring Onion Plait L’s amazing looking Cashew, Feta and Spring Onion Plait. Again, I couldn’t try because it is wrapped up in pastry, but doesn’t it look delicious? She also enjoyed a raspberry beer with this.

Chickpea & Red Pepper, Smoked Paprika Goulash And finally, my gorgeous Chickpea & Red Pepper, Smoked Paprika Goulash, with bubble and squeek cake. I don’t usually eat a lot of potato, but this was so lovely, and wheat-free. Hurrah!

And yes, we did end up having dessert. V had the crumble she had been eyeing up all evening (apple and goodeberry – I adore gooseberries so was gutted they were in a crumble, which I couldn’t have) and L and I went for ice-cream with butterscotch sauce.

So it’s two thumbs up for the Waiting Room.We have decided that it is very important to return when they start the Summer Menu, just to check the standards are being kept as high. I doubt we will be disappointed! 🙂

The Waiting Room

30 May

I’m vegie, and I’m also wheat and dairy intollerant, but I adore food. I like to go out to eat, but I hate it when you really look forward to going out for a meal and are disappointed.

Tonight, my friends and I (one vegie, one not) are heading to an awesome vegie restaurant in Eaglescliffe called The Waiting Room. (http://www.the-waiting-room.co.uk/) Needless to say, I have never been disappointed here.

The Waiting Room is probably my favourite restaurant, and I’m so lucky to have such amazing vegie food right on my doorstep. The food they produce is seasonal, so they make the most of what is available at different times of the year.

They say:  “We use much local and organic produce, including excellent organic wines, beers, teas and freshly ground coffee. A proportion of the vegetables we use are organic, and delivered on the day they are picked, from Larchfield Community Farm. We also use free range eggs, and organic bread and milk.

The menu can also be adapted for vegan and wheat-free, which is brilliant for me. They are also award winning (receiving a nod from both The Guardian newspaper and the Vegetarian Society).

The feel of the restaurant is lovely, really rustic and homely and the waiting staff are always helpful and a delight to interact with. It’s called The Waiting Room because it is really close to Eaglescliffe railway station. So, as you might have guessed I’m really looking forward to eating out this evening.

My only complaint is their portions are huge, and it’s sooooo nice you always end up eating more than you really should, and feeling far too full for the rest of the evening!

Oh, and their home-made desserts – to. die. for!