Friday, September 4, 2009

OzMoFo Begins!

So if you haven't heard yet, the Aussie (and New Zealander!) vegan food bloggers of the world have decided we need a MoFo (Month of Food, in case you thought I was being rude) like nowwww, to account for the fact that come October it's stinkin' hot here and we miss out on making fun winter-like recipes and have to suffer through the stifling humidity while we watch our US and UK counterparts cook up & post delicious winter yums.

In light of this, September's been declared OzMoFo, so in spite of the fact that I have exams for the next two weeks I resolved to get cooking, and not just oatmeal either.

The other night, I was craving tofu. My sister (who along with my mum recently celebrated her third week of vegetarianism!) doesn't like tofu - unless it's in a cheezecake or has been pressed & marinated within an inch of its life. Personally, I'm content with eating cold, waterlogged tofu - pretty much straight from the pack. Is that weird? Probably. In any case, given my sister's 'fu reservations we hadn't had any in a while, and I was biding my time until the rest of the fam decided they wanted an egg or cheese-based meal so I could branch out and cook for me onesies. My wishes were granted just in time for OzMoFo!
I made Cajun Blackened Tofu with Mango & Ginger Salsa from World Food Cafe 2, a vegetarian cookbook (with mostly vegan recipes). I hadn't experienced dinner-food-euphoria in a while, being more of a breakfast girl, but man oh MAN. This was soooo good.
Since I changed it around a bit, I'll post up my version of the recipe - I used more spices than the book said to, and make a few other lil' adjustments. Also because you just need to try it for yourself ASAP.

Cajun Blackened Tofu with Mango & Ginger Salsa (VeganSixteen-style, for one)
100g extra-firm tofu
8 cloves
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. black peppercorns
1 tsp. yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp. paprika
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
2 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. salt
Olive oil, for brushing tofu

1. Toast the first four spices in a frying pan until aromatic, then remove them from the heat and stir in with the rest of the spices in a bowl.
2. Cut your tofu into whatever you want (I used slices but cubes would work fine). Brush lightly with the olive oil and coat with the spice mix - it's a little challenging to do this but try and get as much of the spice mix as possible onto your tofu. You won't regret it :)
3. Preheat griddle until it's really hot, then place your coated tofu in the pan and cook until the spices blacken, then turn it over & cook the other side. While it's cooking you can make the salsa...

Mango & Ginger Salsa
1 cheek mango, diced
1 inch ginger, grated
4 mint leaves, finely chopped
Lime juice, to taste

1. Combine alles ingredients. Don't be stingy with the lime juice, it makes it so so good. Once your tofu's done, put it on your plate and top with the salsa. Serve with the rest of the lime half, or wedge, that you used to squeeze the juice from. Enjoy!

I highly recommend this to anyone who likes tropical flavours. I'm kinda sorta falling in love with them at the moment and am adding mango to just about everrrrything.

After eating this I went to bed with a very happy tummy and awoke to a very curious morning. It was too cold to have what I'd planned (cold cereal with homemade soygurt and berries), but too warm to have oatmeal. I spent about an hour procrastinating over breakfast, wondering what on earth to have. Then it hit me, and I whipped out my copy of Skinny Bitch in the Kitch. Now, I bought this cookbook because I enjoyed its original counterpart so much. However, many of the recipes in it are too rich-looking for me, and rely WAY too heavily on processed ingredients like fake meats and cheeses. But their recipe for French Toast was another story.

I'd attempted vegan french toast before, with disastrous results. I'd attempted a mixture of ricemilk, vanilla essence, salt and Orgran No-Egg (pretty much the Australian answer to Ener-G)... and gotten some very soggy results. It tasted nice, but it was ooogleh. I was hoping Skinny Bitch was here to save the day.
And man was she ever. The bread kept its firmness instead of going all gooey and gross, and the texture was perfect - crispy on the outside, fluffy-doughy on the inside, and sweet & cinnamon-y all the way through.
I didn't use the pecan crusting that the book suggested, but other than that I followed the recipe to a T. I made it just for myself, and then topped it with fresh fruit & a little more cinnamon and called it love.

French Toast for One
2 slices whole meal/whole wheat bread
125ml soy milk
2 T. chickpea (besan) flour
1 T. corn meal (polenta)
1 tsp. cinnamon (adjust to suit your own taste)
Dash of salt (tiny tiny amount!)

1. Whisk the corn meal, soy milk & chickpea flour together in a medium bowl. Add the cinnamon and salt n' whisk away until everything's well combined.
2. One at a time, dunk both sides of your bread into the mixture, absorbing all of it into the slices.
3. Preheat your griddle and when it's hot, add the slices of bread. Watch these carefully as they could burn verrry easily. Cook until golden-brown, turning once. 
4. Remove from heat, scoop em onto a plate, top with whatever your heart desires and EAT!

After having that for breakfast I can honestly say it gave oatmeal a run for its money. Nothing, of course, can quite top the mighty oats for me though - sorry French Toast!

I was really surprised at how well that turned out for me, though, after my previous disaster.What's the worst recipe-failure you've cooked up?

Well, I think that's all for now - stay tuned for a post concerning vegan kitchenware and most importantly, air-mailed junk food!

Ciao :)
- VS (VeganSixteen)


  1. Yum!

    Worst recipe failure? When I was first cooking for my boyfriend years ago I attempted a Vegan Chilli recipe from Paul McCartney. It involved TVP. I added in waaaay to much salt and it was nasty. Now I know only to salt TVP after serving!

  2. Hello! AusNZVeganMoFo has brought me here, fantastic to see another vegan in Brisbane blogging. :)

    I used to really love The Forest, but they've changed owners recently and seemed to have gone downhill. The burgers are still great, and the cakes, but the things in the hot box have become the same and fairly mediocre at that. Also one night they put out something containing dairy cheese! But their burgers are awesome. Not as good as the My Heart Garven bliss burger though - I highly recommend going there to check it out. ;)

    Hmm... recipe failures. I know there have been a few. Once I made a chilli recipe and I was halving the ingredients but forgot to halve the chili powder. I find Americans use too much chili powder to begin with (am I just a light weight, are they super addicts or is their chilli powder milder than ours?). It was so hot it was unbearable. There was no flavour other than scorching!

  3. Hey VS, Jodi at QWC put me onto your blog and all I can say is yummmmmm.... especially the recipe for cajun-blackened tofu. Will be trying this one out at home. Keep up the great writing.

    Kate Eltham.

  4. That Tofu & Mango looks delicious!!

  5. hi! A vegan from Brisbane here. Your stuff looks great and right now my mate has gone to the shops to get some ingredients for french toast.
    Also, is My Heart Garven meant to be Gardedn? Where abouts is it?