Or essentially, a post about my excessive amount of cooking during isolation.
I’ve shared a lot of my favourite recipes from food bloggers before but I’ve never really gone deeper into how I actually found the recipe to make and what I liked and didn’t like. I’ll be honest I tend to have a few people I follow on social media whose recipes I’ve tried before and really liked numerous times, leading to me building up a level of trust for this person’s recipes. I do of course love trying out new things and if I see new recipes on my Instagram explore I am likely to try them or I might find a new blogger by googling a recipe I’m looking to make. For example, at the moment I’m really craving a tempeh and mushroom burger I ate while I was in China so I have been exploring some different recipes for that!
I also have mentioned before when discussing recipes that I have substituted certain ingredients but at times not gone into a lot of detail why I have done so. Since a lot more people than ever are sharing the food they’ve created I thought it might be useful to share what works and does not work (in my opinion) to save you some time.
While not all these recipes were made on the same day; I have separated them by category of breakfast, lunch, dinner, as I thought there would be a nice variety and kind of covers the ground of the different types of dishes people are looking for (I was going to include a dessert option as well but I already have a carrot cake and gingerbread lurking around in my household and did not want to make anything else this week!). Also, for reference I’m vegetarian so all these recipes are either vegetarian or vegan friendly.
Blogger: Cheap Lazy Vegan
Substitutions: Blueberries for chocolate chips (I had run out of chocolate chips and Rose mentioned in her video where I saw this recipe that you could use blueberries instead)
I am a big fan of Rose’s banana pancake recipe as one of my go to healthier pancake recipes so I already knew that I’d probably love this and I definitely did. I’m British so the pancakes that I usually eat are kind of in between a French style pancake and American pancake in texture but I like American style pancakes when I want to be able to have a filling within my pancake batter.
This recipe didn’t disappoint, I cooked mine in oil but if you want to be super decadent I’d cook them with butter! I found this recipe was enough for 2 portions, maybe even 3 if you eat less than me but I think two people would be better for portion size. Essentially, this recipe is quick and easy and perfect for a Sunday treat.
My boyfriend like it so much he requested it for his birthday breakfast, but with chocolate chips of course!
Edit: My boyfriend did have them for his birthday breakfast and ate a whole portion to himself with extra chocolate chips as well as other toppings on top!
Tempeh mixed vegetable dish (I’ve read conflicting things on the use of the term ‘buddha bowl’ so I’m just going to refer to this as a tempeh bowl, though from what I can see this blogger’s recipe does follow the general concepts of what a ‘buddha bowl’ is intended to be).
Blogger: Running on Real Food
Substitution: Don’t know if this counts but the soy sauce I used is not low sodium, as I used my favourite Lee Kum Kee sauce.
I wanted to try this recipe because I’ve not had much luck cooking tempeh for myself at home and enjoying it and I’m happy to say this recipe fixed that rut. I marinated the tempeh for 2 hours (shaking it every 15 minutes as specified), as I wanted it to be flavourful (don’t worry the recipe did indicate 30 minutes would be suffice) and it definitely paid off. I used smooth peanut butter (I’m not into crunchy – don’t hate me!) as that is the nut butter I had to hand and I used the natural kind, as I reserve that for baking (I’m sorry but there’s nothing like the more sugary version in sandwiches), which I think made for a nice flavour. However, if you’re not a peanut butter lover, I would recommend a different nut butter, as I could really taste the peanut butter when the tempeh was cooked. I think overall this is a really solid way of getting flavour into tempeh and cooking it and I will be experimenting with my own blends in the future.
The variety of vegetables in this dish was also great and why I think this is such a great meal prep recipe, as it’s a great way to pack some veggies into you at lunch time (this recipe is for 4 portions though so if you work 5 days a week you might want to make a little more, which wouldn’t be difficult as the recipe gives the individual portions for the vegetables in the bowl). I think meal prepping can still be nice to do in isolation, as it can help you still get some good, hearty meals in on those days where you can’t face making them (I hope you all don’t have days like this but I’m sure some of you, like me, have had them).
The only part I’d probably omit next time is the tahini sauce, which I think is just down to personal preference. I’m ok eating the vegetables without any dressing, as the flavour from the tempeh is enough for me. I also tried it one day with a bit of sriarcha and coriander and that was great. I’ve tried tahini dressings before and I’m not the biggest fan when they taste heavily of tahini, but don’t worry I’m not going to waste the sauce, what I’ll probably do is add a lot of garlic and have it either with some mock chicken or if I make some falafel!
Blogger: Sarah Sullivan (Sarah’s Vegan Kitchen)
Substitutions: I like some spice so I substituted the jalapeño for two scotch bonnet chilli’s and a red chilli pepper (believe me or not I counted this as mild still). I also did not have any frozen peas left so substituted for frozen sweetcorn.
This is a great weeknight recipe and I do think this is a great dish for meal prep like the lunch recipe. I also think this would freeze well, which I plan to do, but have not tried yet, so don’t blame me if it goes wrong!
Overall, this is a simple, easy to follow recipe; the only issue I had was cooking the sweet potato at first but that was my fault, as I didn’t let the dish come to a boil before turning it down to a simmer (once I did that it was all plain sailing).
My final dish did not look as thick as Sarah’s but I think on reheating it probably would and it could be that I didn’t have enough coconut milk, as the recipe mentioned ounces and mine was in ml on the can. Edit: The dish thickened up and looked a lot more like Sarah’s pictures when left a bit to cool!
This was a lovely dish with some nice flavour, which my tastebuds appreciated, as we all have had sweet potato and chickpea curry before (if you’re vegetarian or vegan I can almost guarantee it) and it was nice to not have a bland one.
So to sum up
I hope you enjoyed this post and if you’ve tried any of these recipes before let me know in the comments below. I’m currently working on a series where I test out some of the recipes that big chains have shared, i.e. the delicious vegan cookies from Pret and the iconic Wagamama katsu curry.
I generally do not like to substitute too much when trialing and reviewing recipes, as I want to try the recipe how it was intended, however, I do not want to make unnecessary trips to the shops right now so I stuck to what I had in. Of course, I could have planned better, but I didn’t! And in regards to the chilli hit, that was personal preference, I have no other excuse!