Macaroni Mondays with VR Underground



Now presenting Macaroni Mondays!

Get your week started right with an inexpensive relaxed evening with my favorite comfort food. All the creamy gooey-ness is all vegan of course. Plus nibbles and dessert!

Get all the details here at the Vegan Ronin Underground Supper Club blog.


Vegan Cronut Recipe

Maple vegan cronut
Maple vegan cronut

Yes, that’s right. Vegan croissant-donuts. Cronuts. Dossants. Fried dream boats. A top food trend in 2013. It’s all here for you!

Here, look at them again.
Here, look at them again.

I thought about making a baked version, but if you’re going to do this, go all out.

If you do it the easy way with pre-made dough, it takes under an hour- and most of that is standing and frying.

The dough you will need is ready-to-roll puff pastry or croissant dough. If it is the pre-cut triangle type of croissants, just smoosh them together into a rectangle and then flatten.

If you choose to make your own puff pastry, feel free to find a recipe online. You make the dough, roll it, fold it and ‘fridge it over and over for many, many hours. I would start the day before you want to make the cronuts. This dough is very temperamental and I’ve never been very good with it, so I don’t trust mine. But good for you if you give it a go!

These are for maple cronuts. But like doughnuts and croissants, slather them with whatever you like. Different icings, chocolate spreads, jams, pudding, custards, sprinkles, etc. So go nuts! Or should that be, go cro nuts! (O ho ho I’m hilarious).

Vegan Cronuts- Maple style

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Easy Vegan BBQ “Pulled-Pork”

BBQ Jack Fruit
BBQ Jack Fruit

Without any faux meat! Only with delicious, delicious jack fruit.

I never had jack fruit until I went to an Indonesian restaurant in Holland (after all, the Dutch had colonies & trading routes there). I’d never been to Amsterdam and I’d never really had Indonesian food. Kartika had good reviews on Yelp and a vegetarian rijstafel (like a tasting menu to share). Sign me up for all these new things!

Lots of different dishes. Including tempeh satay skewers and young jack fruit in a curry sauce.

OmniMonkey and I fell completely in love with its firm bite, yet creamy texture and buttery taste. You can even cook & eat the big seeds.

And silly me. I thought jack fruit and durian tasted the same because they look similar. Do not make our mistake!

While you can buy tinned jack fruit in a sweet syrup, for this recipe, choose the type in brine. They come in larger-than-average tins/cans. I have found it in both Indian and general Asian food stores and online (UK;US). I’ve also made a Sri-Lankan Jack Fruit curry using the brined type. But we want barbeque style, don’t we?

Young jack fruit is said to be preferable, but I’ve found it really doesn’t matter. As long as it’s jack fruit! Why jack fruit? Well as you will see, it is praised for having the look and texture of pulled “pork”. So if you need an ingredient to look shredded, this is for you!

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Soy Yogurt

Making soy yogurt has been my new thing lately. I wanted to eat more cultured foods to keep my body happy, and making yogurt is a cheap way to do it- double bonus! I’ve made some notes to keep in mind, but don’t let the list freak you out. It’s really simple!


Porridge with homemade yogurt.

What you will need & notes:

-Plain soy yogurt with live cultures: Make sure there are no sugars, flavourings, or any extra nonsense in it. As plain and pure and possible.

-Plain soy milk. Same as above. As plain as possible. I have tried this with almond milk and failed. So for now, stick to soy milk.

– Cooking thermometer that goes up to 43C/109F

-Sterilised jar. Save that pickle jar! Wash it up, pour boiling water in it, carefully pour the water out and place jar upside-down in a hot oven (200C/400F is fine) for 5 minutes. (This also works with their metal lids.)

-Big, clean pan.

-Insulated cooler/ lunch bag. This and the jar will need to be preheated so the bacteria is warm and happy at all times. You can do this by adding hot water, hot water bottle or jar of hot water into the cooler. The same goes for warming the jar.

-A small hot water bottle or towel to keep the yogurt warm.

-Warm, undisturbed area.

-Easiest to make a night, and when you wake up, BOOM! Yogurt.

-You can easily halve, double, etc this recipe.

-Soy yogurt will be a bit runnier than dairy yogurt. I have found using your own culture for the next batch makes it thicker.

-Do NOT add more yogurt. It does not make it thicker. The bacteria need space to run and play!

-This has been adapted from Wild Fermentation‘s yogurt recipe. If you’re into culturing food, get this book now!


1 litre/quart plain soy milk
15 ml/ 1 Tbsp plain soy yogurt

1. Pre-heat your insulated cooler and yogurt jar.

2. Heat the soy milk over medium heat, stirring so the bottom doesn’t burn. Heat until bubbles are just forming, this is hot enough- do not let it boil.

3. Let sit to cool until it reaches 43C/109C. If you’re in a hurry, you can put the pan in a cool water bath. But don’t let it get too cold!

4. Stir in your yogurt starter.

5. Pour into warmed jar & put the lid on.

6. Place yogurt jar in warmed (dry) cooler. You can add a little hot water bottle or wrap with towels to keep the heat in. Seal cooler and place in a warm area that will not be disturbed.

7. Wait 12 hours.

8. Check out your yogurt! It should be nice and thick and firm. It’s ready to be enjoyed!

9. Keep in refrigerator after you have finished culturing.

Remember to save a little of this yogurt to make your next batch!


Ready to go into the cooler for culturing.

I like to put it in little jars with toppings for a snack at work.
100g (1/2 cup) of this plain yogurt is around 33 calories and it fills you up!


Pomegranate seeds and date syrup.

You can also make it savoury! Here I added salt, lime juice and chopped parsley.

Keep your gut and your body happy 🙂

Supper Club News!

The Vegan Ronin Underground Supper Club has been extremely successful the passed couple of years, prompting special catering events and lots of seitan deliveries.

On the back of the gluten-free Japanese lunch comes a very special Shojin Ryori meal celebrating springtime! I’ve teamed up with Fat Gay Vegan for a special month of Around The World supper clubs. All the info is on my Underground Supper Club page, but here is the menu to whet your whistles:

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The Gate

Last week, I made the very smart decision to go to the launch of The Gate’s new refit of its flagship restaurant in West London. Surprisingly, I never saw the original. I had attempted to many years ago, only to be met by closed doors when they should have been open. How stupid I was to not go back ASAP. I took fellow chef Sara of Pomodoro e Basilico as my date to the chic little restaurant just a hop, skip and a jump from Hammersmith Station in London. We were greeted by a modern entrance before ascending into the new warm, wooden interior and lovely high ceilings. It was nice to be in such an intimate atmosphere, but still with your own private space.

So let’s dive right in shall we (Sara and I sure did!)? With a glass of prosecco in hand we first ordered the green banana fritters with coconut salsa. Almost like a crumbly fried plaintain ball with this amazing chipotle dipping sauce on the side. Not spicy, just smoky and slightly sweet which complimented the crunchy coconut “salsa” on top.


We also just had to try the vegan option of stuffed courgette flowers. I love courgette flowers, maybe even more because they have such a short season. So I instantly ordered The Gate’s version and it did not disappoint. It could easily be a main for a light eater. Covered with a light batter, it’s stuffed with fava beans and mint, on a bed of puy lentils and pesto. And did I mention the PILLOWY MOUNDS OF AIOLI?! At the first bite I had to set down my knife and fork just to concentrate on the flavours. Then I was thinking if I could ask The Gate if they had an ice cream cone they could just fill up for me. It was that good people. No wonder it’s part of the most popular dishes on the menu.


Then it was time for mains. The spicy corn and polenta cake was already calling to me; then I saw there was some pickled fennel involved and that was it. There was also roasted sweet potatoes and aubergine in a Neapolitan stack with this amazing black bean and corn salsa with fresh flavours that just popped. Loved it.


Sara went for the red Thai curry which had a nice heat and the bright flavour of lemongrass shined through. All around us seemed to be the breadcrumb-coated aubergine teriyaki, which will be my next order for sure! It looked so nice, no wonder it seemed everyone was ordering it!


You can’t come to a top veggie restaurant and NOT have dessert! The banoffee pie called me right away as it is something I never make myself. It had an amazing creamy topping and the bananas were mixed up with biscuits in some kind of delicious, sexy confusion. Sara had the apple & plum crumble with vegan cream. I preferred mine to be honest, but I am into decadence!


So what could make this meal even better, you ask? Let me tell you. The delightful, attentive service we received. It doesn’t matter how great the food is… Ok, well, it DOES matter how great the food is, but without great wait-staff your dining adventure falls short. And I’m so pleased that The Gate had top notch service to go with its first-rate food. It’s an infrequent combination to come by these days and it was fantastic to have been treated and fed so well.

This says it all

Go to their website and treat yourself to their Christmas meal (I will be!).  And if you’re not in the London area, get yourself The Gate Vegetarian Cookbook  which actually has recipes to dishes they actually serve! So you can whip up your own feast between visits and impress everyone! Thanks for sharing the love, Gate! I will be seeing you soon!







Vegan food in China: the photos; VeganMofo5


Here is what you have been waiting for! I worked in Beijing for a month this summer, and here are the photos of a bunch of stuff I ate. I will have another post about the food in general and stories about being vegan in China.

It’s easier for me to put these in categories , so let’s start with the most important meal of the day:

The Hotel Breakfast

sauteed carrot, potato slivers, watermelon, sweet potato, fermented chili tofu, 2 mystery pickles. Congee with gojee berries. Warm bean milk.
sauteed carrot, potato slivers, watermelon, sweet potato, fermented chili tofu, 2 mystery pickles. Congee with gojee berries. Warm bean milk.
watermelon, pickled something, rice noodle & greens sesame garlic stuff, garlic mushrooms, boiled peanuts and celery, sweet potato, bean bun
watermelon, pickled something, rice noodle & greens sesame garlic stuff, garlic mushrooms, boiled peanuts and celery, sweet potato, bean bun, azuki congee, warm bean milk
The best breakfast. Tofu skin, fresh tofu with soy sauce, mystery pickle, bean bun, watermelon, chilli and garlic konyakku noodles. With plain congee and warm, fresh "bean milk"
The best breakfast. Tofu skin, fresh tofu with soy sauce, mystery pickle, bean bun, watermelon, chilli and garlic konyakku noodles. With plain congee and warm, fresh “bean milk”

The fresh warm, presumably soy milk was so good. The tea and coffee was made already with milk and sugar, so warm soy milk and an azuki bean bun became my “tea & biscuit” to relax me before going to work.

Continue reading “Vegan food in China: the photos; VeganMofo5”