Vegan

Day 12: Magic aubergine

Tonight’s dinner… oh my word, that is why we’re doing this! We said we wanted to try new and different and creative things, and this has definitely been my favourite thing we’ve eaten since we started Veganuary.

We really needed it too – we’d both had super-stressful days at work, and the thought of coming home to a new cooking project was both a comfort and a great motivation for the duration of the journey home.

As for what was on the menu tonight, we made aubergine pad Thai. Into the oven went an aubergine cut into halves. Meanwhile peppers, onion, spring onions, grated carrot (god bless the food processor!), peanuts, and coriander went into a pan on the hob. While that cooked we mixed soy sauce, peanut butter powder, sesame oil, maple syrup, the juice of a lime, and tomato ketchup (because I banned sriracha) to make the most beautiful sauce you will ever taste in your life.

Back in the pan, we tossed in some cooked rice noodles, some more coriander, and some chopped, de-seeded cucumber at the last minute. While everything was just heating through (but before the cucumber went soft), we took the aubergine out of the oven and scraped out all the flesh, which we blitzed to puree in the food processor. Into the pan, a quick stir through to make sure everything was warm, then on went the sauce and we were away.

I can honestly say it is one of the most delicious things I have had in a long while, certainly my favourite thing I’ve ever made with Jones. Not only was the resulting bowlful colourful and lovely to look at, but it was an amazing mix of textures and flavours – fragrant and zingy and tasty, and the aubergine is magical stuff – it melted around the noodles to create a really creamy, silky sauce. We’re definitely going to explore that further in other dishes, especially while we’re not allowed cheese sauce, I think it could be really versatile.

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Forgot to say, we also served this with some veggie spring rolls (left over from my dinner with Lucy, who doesn’t really like them and asked me to take them away), for which Jones whipped up a quick dipping sauce. Tomato sauce, teriyaki marinade, tomato and chilli jam, and a little cashew milk all mixed together to make something sweet and spicy and very very moreish. We’ve got some left over in the fridge – I’m sure we can find something else to have with it over the weekend!

There was another treat for pudding – Si had picked up a bar of vegan-friendly orange chocolate from Sainsburys, which we shared. It was very nice – you could tell the difference from the texture, like the chocolate buttons we had on day 1 there was something not quite right, but the flavour was great, like a chocolate orange.

All told, today was a great success – I feel very lucky to have such a creative and clever cooking partner to do this challenge with, it’s so much fun… and I do think we’ve eaten better, certainly healthier and with more variety, in the last 12 days than we normally do, even though we have always loved cooking. Certainly the pad Thai needs to go into our repertoire of things we make more regularly – I think this challenge is going to be a very good influence on our future kitchen adventures.

To end the day, we have also cranked up the bread maker that Si’s mother gave me – we’ve added a mix of grains so it’s a bit experimental, but we will of course let you know if it works – we are both daydreaming about waking up to the smell of delicious fresh bread for breakfast.

And speaking of adventures – tomorrow we are off to a vegan market in Hackney! I’m so excited – not just because it will be really interesting to see what it’s like, but because we are going to buy some vegan cheese. Cheese!! I’ve not let myself have any for the past two weeks, in order to make the most of this cooking challenge – to prove that I could learn how to do flavours without just saying ‘eh, I’ll stick some grated (vegan) cheese on top’… but all the same, I have missed cheese a lot, and now the requisite 2 weeks is up, I’m looking forward to seeing what the vegan version is like!

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Today I ate/drank…

  • Tea with cashew milk
  • A pistachio protein ball (surprisingly soft but very nice)
  • The last of the bean chilli (bored of adding Marmite, which makes things a bit too salty, I stirred through a stray pot of MacDonalds BBQ sauce (vegan!) which introduced a lovely smokey taste.
  • Lots of water
  • Bag of Hula Hoops (bad day at work = need noms for the journey home)
  • Aubergine pad Thai
  • Half a bar of Sainsburys Free From Choc & Orange
  • Fizzy squash

4 thoughts on “Day 12: Magic aubergine”

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