Things I’m Reading Thursday #32 / Things I Love Thursday #58

Vegan Noms (1)

Disclaimer: I am not this Claire Askew. That Claire Askew has been a vegan and vegan activist for many years, from what I can see. I am by no means trying to hijack her bandwagon, and I do intend to buy her book. You guys should, too.

The thing I’ve been loving a whole load this week is also something you can read. I LOVE IT WHEN THAT HAPPENS.

Isa Chandra Moskowitz
This lady is the thing I am loving, and I am loving her a whole, whole lot. As most of you probably know, I recently — and rather inexplicably — became vegan, and wrote a post about it right here. Some lovely folk came to comment on said post (and on my Facebook and Twitter), to give me words of encouragement, hints and tips. All of this was much appreciated, but a special shout-out must go to Regina Green. Not only did she give me a ton of feel-good encouragement, she also pointed me in the direction of Isa Chandra Moskowitz. AND I AM SO, SO GLAD that she did.

Ms Moskowitz — who you can learn about in this kick-ass interview from the New York Times — is a tattooed punk chef who believes in culinary activism and cupcakes for all. She’s written several extremely popular vegan cookbooks including one that’s all about pies, another that’s all about cookies, and for those of you for whom those are dirty words, there’s also a low fat book. When I hit the website, The Post Punk Kitchen, I really was spoilt for choice.

However, I eventually decided on Vegan Brunch. One of my all-time favourite things in life is breakfast, and one of the things I’ve missed most about becoming vegan is breakfast pastry. I thought I’d never eat a croissant ever again, until I came across the Gopal Deli in Barcelona and discovered that actually, vegan pastries are in fact possible. But although Edinburgh has plenty of places that’ll whip you up a lovely vegan lunch or dinner, the only place I know of that’ll make you a vegan breakfast or brunch is David Bann’s. (And they only do it at weekends. And yaknow, eating there twice every week is probably not good for my wallet.) Therefore, I was very happy to find a cookbook that would enable me to provide my own vegan breakfast goodies without too much fuss.

The book arrived last week and, as you can imagine, last weekend was a massive brunch-fest as a result. On Saturday morning, Lovely Boyfriend — even though he’d been off work sick for two days, bless him — got out of bed to make me Isa’s Perfect Pancakes, a vegan take on the traditional American fluffy pancake. While he was whipping up batter and manning the frying pan, I put together some of the cookbook’s Chocolate Drizzle to go on top. Both recipes were extremely simple, required a few cheap and easy-to-get ingredients, and were ready pretty quickly. The fact that I made enough Chocolate Drizzle for about ten people was the only real issue. Tip: if there’s just two of you, halve the ingredients suggested! The result of our labours is in the photo at the top of this post. It was one lush brunch, I can tell you. (Neither of the recipes are online, but Isa does have another pancake recipe, for super-fluffy cakes that look amazing, right here.)

Vegan Noms (9)

Next, I tried the recipe for Cinnamon Rolls. I am obsessed with anything cinnamon-filled, cinnamon-topped or cinnamon-scented, and I was beyond delighted to discover that the aforementioned Gopal also did a great line in huge swirly cinnamon buns. I never thought I’d be able to make such things myself, but of course, Isa proved me wrong. These were time-consuming, but easy to do — I am a very basics-only kind of cook, so if I can do it, anyone can — and a lot of the time was down-time, waiting for the dough to rise. The rather dark (sorry) photo above shows the rolls fresh out of the oven, before they were iced. Lovely Boyfriend and I tried one at this point and were worried it was too breadlike and not sweet enough. However, the next morning I iced them (and not heavily, either), and it made all the difference — suddenly they were sweet, sticky and perfect. You literally can’t tell the difference between these and their all-butter non-vegan cousins. The recipe for these isn’t online either, but it’s worth buying the book just for these babies! Excellent with a good cup of tea.

Vegan Noms (6)

Finally, on Sunday morning the loveliest Lovely Boyfriend decided to tackle Isa’s standard scrambled tofu, with with a Lovely Boyfriend twist. As well as Isa’s cumin and thyme spice mix — which sounds a bit curry-esque but actually works beautifully for breakfast — he also added some broken-up mushrooms, finely chopped onion and torn spinach. The end result was one of the best breakfasts I’ve had in my life, vegan or otherwise. The recipe calls for extra-firm silken tofu — we could only find the firm stuff, so as a result the pieces broke down quite small while cooking. However, the chunky mushrooms kept the consistency from being too bitty. On top of a wholemeal bagel it was utterly lush, I tell you. There are plenty of other uses for tofu in the Post Punk Kitchen, too.

So yes — I’m in love with this cookbook, and with its author. You can guarantee that I’ll be buying more of her books in the near future, and I cannot wait til next weekend when I can try out more brunches (look out, waistline…).

If anyone loves me or ONS enough to help keep me stocked with Things I’m Reading Thursday fodder, you can check out my Amazon Wishlist!

Honourable mentions:
Sunshine. It’s still disturbingly cold outside, but at least it looks pretty // Starry Rhymes — you can finally buy it in the Read This Press etsy store! As I was listing it, I was re-reading some of my favourite poems, and oh my goodness, it’s good // Thrifting with my mad and lovely sister. Morningside has all the best finds! If you’re a fellow thrifter, check out my vintage store, Edinburgh Vintage, for some pretty bargains // feeling busy and productive, but not stressed. This is a rare feeling — long may it last! // Lazing under my duvet and plotting for the future. So much stuff, so little time! // Netflix. We just got it. Goodbye, what spare time I formerly had… // The West Wing. We’ve been trawling through every episode ever in order and we’re nearing the end of Season Six. Only one more to go! I never want it to end!

What are you loving this week?

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If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

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6 Responses to “Things I’m Reading Thursday #32 / Things I Love Thursday #58”

  1. Regina Says:

    YAY, claire! i met isa chandra in person a few months back for her new pie book and she is amazing and wonderful and signed all my books for me! i’m so glad you have joined the exciting world of compassionate eating! isa chandra’s books and philosophy is a wonderful way to start out your journey and i’m so glad i could help a little! and your brunch looks so delicious! you have to try her waffles!
    all the best!
    xo

  2. Howard of Belvedere Mountain Express Says:

    Glad to see the veganism is going well. There’s actually a very lively community of over three hundred people in the Facebook group ‘VEG – Vegan Edinburgh and Glasgow’ (http://www.facebook.com/groups/106588816094435), where there is lots of advice, suggestions and support, if you can get past all the in-fighting! I’ve not used any of those American cookbooks by the likes of Isa Chandra Moskowitz myself – too many broiling half-cups of scallions for my liking – but they’re certainly very popular, and I must admit the cupcakes one is tempting me …

  3. Sarah Says:

    Hey Claire! If you’ve never come across http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com, you should check it out. Lots and lots of vegan dessert recipes, almost all of them very easy to prepare - and most of them very healthy. I’ve only tried a few myself, but have been happy with the results so far.

  4. Claire Says:

    Hey, thanks for the comments you guys! Sorry it took me so long to moderate them (oops)! I will totally check this stuff out :) :) :)

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