Monday, 3 October 2011

Cookbook Challenge Time!

It's Cookbook Challenge time! I'll be doing the challenge every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday this month & I've been really excited about this part of MoFo. I ended up really enjoying it last year despite being nervous about posting my home cooking on the blog! I'd say I'm a better cook that I was last year, I don't rely on store bought meat & cheese substitutes anywhere near as much as I used to but I do still neglect some of my cookbooks; for example I've cooked around half of the recipes from Appetite For Reduction this year but their are other cookbooks sitting on the shelf untouched. Ridiculous.

For people who didn't read the blog during last years MoFo the Cookbook Challenge is where I pick the names of my cookbooks out of a hat (I even have a real hat this year!) & use a random number generator to select which recipes I'll be cooking. I also won't be cooking any recipes I've made before & I'll be choosing the weeks recipes at the start of the week so that I don't have to food shop every day. That'll also mean that the challenge isn't too planned out which is part of the fun.

The first cookbook out of the hat today was Color Me Vegan.


This is one of my newest cookbooks & it's the second one I have that's written by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. I have actually managed to cook a few things from it & my favourite recipe so far has been the Swiss Chard Pie which I've made three times subbing spinach for swiss chard each time.

Today the recipe generator picked me page 130 Kiwi Banana Muffins. This definitely isn't a recipe I'd have picked myself. I'm not the biggest kiwi eater, I do like them but they're not something I often buy... I don't really know why!

I got my ingredients together.


I was surprised that all of the liquid in the recipe came from fruit, I usually bake with oil so using margarine was a bit of a change. The recipe came together quickly but I'm glad that the recipe included the amount of kiwi purée the fruits should yield rather than just the number of kiwis because the number of suggested kiwis actually made twice the amount of purée the recipe needed which would have resulted in incredibly soggy muffins.


I thought that the muffins came out a little strangely. They hardly rose & were quite heavy. These weren't dense as I suspected they might be when I pulled them out of the oven, they were actually quite moist but also a little gummy. I don't think I over mixed them but then again you never know. That said I doubt I'll be making them again because peeling & mushing the kiwis seems like a lot of effort for a just-okay muffin!

Next out of the hat was Please Don't Feed The Bears.


Now I have to be honest here, I cooked one recipe from this cookbook last year during the Cookbook Challenge, it didn't turn out brilliantly & I haven't actually used it since. The recipe the generator picked me was the Frankenbeans. This certainly looked very promising, I like all of the ingredients & the directions were just to throw them all into a pan together & heat them up.



I chose a smokey tofu hot dog for this recipe because it seemed that it would go well with the other flavours in the dish. I'd also never tried them before which fitted in with the challenge. The dish also included light molasses which I haven't ever been able to find so I used part molasses sugar & part maple syrup. These were really, really good.


Really good! Especially given how ridiculously simple the recipe is. This dish was great on it's own but I imagine it'd make a great beans & rice bowl with brown rice & smokey greens. You could even make this a much cheaper dish by making steamed smoky seitan sausages rather than buying expensive hot dogs. I'll definitely be making these again, in fact thinking about it they'd probably make perfect drunk food!

The third & final cookbook of the day was Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson. I've actually had this cookbook for about two years & I don't think I've ever used it. It was included in last years Cookbook Challenge but it never came up & I've always found it a little intimidating, probably because it's quite big & has no photos at all.

The recipe that came up was the Tuscan White Bean & Fennel Stew with Orange & Rosemary. This sounded promising, my only worry was that whilst I'd never actually cooked with fennel I'd decided after smelling it that I probably wouldn't like it. I do love stews though especially now that the weather has turned all Autumnal & tying new things is the point of the cookbook challenge so I soldiered on.


It was another easy to throw together recipe, not as easy as the Frankenbeans but I don't think anything ever will be!


I was pleased to realise that cooked fennel tastes much milder than raw fennel smells. I don't even think I could taste it in the finished stew. I loved the taste of fresh rosemary, I don't actually think I've ever cooked with it before but I'll probably make more of an effort to get fresh herbs when recipes call for them now.

What's your favourite recipe from Vegan Planet? I'd love some ideas of what to make from it once the challenge is over. Today's been super fun & I'll be back with more cookbook challenge fun tomorrow!

32 comments:

  1. i have loads of vegan cookbooks but none of these ones.... you've made me want to buy color me vegan despite the muffins...x

    ReplyDelete
  2. i have loads of vegan cookbooks but none of these ones.... you've made me want to buy color me vegan despite the muffins...x

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh I really like the look of those beans! I just spent some time making note of all those cookbooks!

    ReplyDelete
  4. The Frankenbeans look yummy. Added the book to my wishlist, and definitely going to try them.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I really love “Color Me Vegan” it’s got some really creative and sophisticated yet simple recipes. I’ve made quite a few things from it, those Kiwi Muffins included. I felt pretty much the same way you did about them. I actually like kiwi but I notice when I eat a large amount of it I get a funny tingling sensation in my mouth so I don’t eat it much. I did really want to try these though and like you I ended up thinking that they just tasted strange. Not bad necessarily just.... I don’t know strange. Mine were also really moist and gummy, almost like they weren’t cooked all the way through except I cooked mine LONGER then the recipe said so I don’t know.

    I will have to try the Swiss Chard pie, I’ve looked at it a few times but haven’t made it yet.

    The Franks and Beans actually looks and sounds quite good and that’s not normally something I would eat. I’ve never heard of that cookbook before I will have to check it out.

    I see in your picture you own a copy of “The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet” how is it?

    ReplyDelete
  6. this is such a great way to find new recipes! I do the half maple syrup thing with molasses too, don't think I've ever seen any other than blackstrap in the UK

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love this idea. I seem to remember reading your blog last year during MoFo cause this is ringing a bell. I love color me vegan even though I've only made a few recipes from it. Vegan Planet is on my wish list.

    So many items to cook. Can't wait to read more. Happy MoFoing

    ReplyDelete
  8. WEINS AND BEANS that's what I like to call em' and they look delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Shame about the muffins not being excellent but the savoury meals you made look delicious. I've had a great meal in a restaurant that used fennel but I would be hesitant to use it myself at home.

    My favourite Vegan Planet recipe is the African Sweet Potato Stew and the Thai-style Leaf-wrapped Appetiser Bites are great too!

    ReplyDelete
  10. So shall I just come over every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday then?

    ReplyDelete
  11. I gotta try frankenbeans!

    I just found Vegan Planet in a charity shop the other week, don't think I've tried anything yet but def will be this MoFo.

    ReplyDelete
  12. The Tuscan White Bean & Fennel Stew with Orange & Rosemary from Vegan Planet looks so delicious! I think I am going to have to purchase that cookbook now because of your post!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love the picking out of a hat idea, what a great way to make you try new recipes! Those frankenbeans sound great too. I bought Vegan Planet almost a year ago and have only made a couple of things from it, will bookmark this stew to try.

    ReplyDelete
  14. There's a tamale pie in Vegan Planet that I remember loving. But my favorite is the three bean dal. Absolutely amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Wow, you've been busy cooking! I like your idea of picking the book to use out of a hat...I know that I have some neglected vegan cookbooks that I need to make recipes from! :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Those muffins sound fantastic! What an interesting flavor combination.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Wow. I'm totally going to try that recipe from Please Don't Feed the Bears. I bought it a few months ago, and while I enjoyed reading it, I've never actually cooked from it.

    Also, I thought I wouldn't/didn't like fennel either. I'm half Italian, and my Italian grandma fed me raw fennel in a salad before, which I really didn't enjoy, but I sort of wanted to like it so I cooked with it recently (I think something from AFR) and it tasted really good.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Wohooo, what a cool challenge! :)
    I love cookbook testing on blogs, makes much more sense to me than reviews on booksellers' websites.

    I just realized we have a lot of interests in common. It's cool that there's at least one other person out there who loves snow. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  19. I love the molasses bread in VP! I don't know the name for it precisely, but it has cornmeal, molasses (duh), raisins and walnuts. absolutely stellar, and fat-free to boot. which allows me to pile heaps of margarine on top because why the hell not.
    I don't think I had ever heard of muffins made with kiwi before, it sounds intriguing.

    ReplyDelete
  20. i love the black bean enchiladas from Vegan Planet and from the looks of it i'm gonna have to try out the stew. i'm not the world's biggest fennel fan, but it's good to know it's pretty mellow when cooked. nice! sadface on the muffins not turning out. you know, whenever i'm made fruity muffins they always come out dense and don't rise much either, which really pissed me off last time because i had high hopes for the peachy muffins i made. oh well. sooooo awesome on the frank 'n beans. you've just gotta love a simple recipe that tastes so damn delicious! wahooooooo for cookbook challenge yumminesses!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Cookbook challenge is such a good idea - those muffins look gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
  22. thevegandivision4 October 2011 17:37

    I haven't got any of these books, but Color me vegan and Please Don't Feed the Bears were on my "I need to buy these soon" list. Now I've just added Vegan Planet :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. Kyleigh I do own a copy of The Best Veggie Burgers on The Planet. Sadly it's underused, I've only made the super quinoa burgers which were delicious. The book's so beautiful thought & there are tonnes of recipes that I want to make.

    Thanks for the Vegan Planet rec's everyone!

    ReplyDelete
  24. What a great challenge idea! I'm not sure I could even do it as I'm pretty picky about certain foods. I'm definitely buying Color Me Vegan soon.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I lov fresh Rosemary, it grows really easy in a garden or window sill too! I always use it for garlic boil/roast potates with Rosemary

    ReplyDelete
  26. I have Colour Me Vegan and Vegan Planet. I have only made a few things out of Colour Me Vegan, but I have made heaps out of Vegan Planet. If you search for Vegan Planet as a tag on my blog, I have lots of photos and reviews of recipes, and I will be doing a MoFo post dedicated to it as well. :)

    I do love your cookbook challenges!

    ReplyDelete
  27. I'm happy to hear that fennel doesn't taste as strong as it smells once it's cooked. I'm not a fan of licorice, so I never even wanted to fennel. Maybe I will now... Oh, and love your cookbook theme!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Your challenge/theme is fun! I don't have Vegan Planet, but I checked it out once from the library. Look forward to reading more of your cooking adventures.

    ReplyDelete
  29. You are so brave, JoJo. Letting a generator pick for you and cooking three recipes is a lot of work! I am barely slugging along with the simplest recipes.

    xo
    kittee

    ReplyDelete
  30. I have to admit, I've had this book for several years and I'm not sure If I've cooked out of it either. I want me some frankenbeans though!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Backyard BBQ Chilli. My whole family, omnivores included, love this recipe and always ask for it. I use the BBQ Sauce recipe out of How It All Vegan (it's one of those books!) and it works great! I've never used Please Don't Feed The Bears and only a couple of things from Color Me Vegan, looking forward to seeing what else you make!

    ReplyDelete