Whatever Happened To Sunday Dinners? : Chow Baby, Divine Lemon Scones & an Award!

I am once again swooning but for the deliciousness of Ms. Joni’s “food courtesque” Chinese-style recipes! Be still my beating heart (and growling stomach) we have Chow Mein, or Mein Chow if you prefer, action happening here :


The most effortless and versatile vegan chow mein ever! Here we have carrots, onion, green beans, mushrooms, mung bean shoots…but baby corn, broccoli, and faux duck (aka seitan) would also be excellent choices. This was a perfect one-wok meal, and as always, I love you both Celine and Joni, as weekly meal planning is a no-brainer for me, and you all are going to love 500 Vegan Recipes! There are some fabulous photos at the 500 Vegan Recipes Cookbook Flickr group, too. But warning : don’t go on an empty stomach!

But let’s get onto the scones, shall we? As many of you know, since my little accident in November, my Sunday routine has been drastically altered. I loved Sunday mornings because they meant me sneaking out of the apartment before Guppy and Monsieur Fish were awake, greedily soaking up the warm smells of baking croissants and baguettes wafting from the boulangeries as I made my way through the streets of my still-sleeping French city… then on to the forest trails, where the morning mist was still hanging heavy, and save the occasional company of a fox, rabbit or (yikes!) wild boar, I was free to spend one and a half to two glorious hours of me time : the long run.

There was nothing like coming home after my long run, feeling both spent and refreshed at the same time (though not smelling so fresh, gotta admit!). After some stretching and showering, it was time for a decadent Sunday brunch with my little family. While I’m sad (and frustrated) to say my foot/ankle is still not letting me do much other than dream about running, I woke up Sunday morning with that basta! feeling we get when enough really is enough and damn it if I can’t go run at least I’m going to make a fun Sunday brunch treat!

And the Divine Lemon Scones were born. Out of necessity. Because I wanted something citrus, something sweetish (as opposed to Swedish, though, that would have been a good idea, too) and I have a sac of lemons that Monsieur Fish bought last week because they were 1E and he just knew I could use them for something.

divine-lemon-sconeI might have gotten a little carried away with the glaze on this one…what do you think?

These scones have a lovely lemon cakesque groove going on which is perfect for the lemon-lover in me. If, however, you are not as lemon crazy as I am, you may want to use less lemon juice or extract for the glaze, or just skip the glaze all together, though I would think you mad because it’s so good!

Divine Lemon Scones

Because I didn’t feel like washing a million cups, this is a metric measure recipe. Sorry Imperialists Imperial-measure folks. This makes about 12 scones.

  • 300 ml non-dairy milk (I use soy)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 350g AP flour plus 100g AP flour
  • 60g sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • pinch salt (but not hard)
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • zest from 3 lemons

Preheat your oven to about 200c.

Mix the vinegar and “milk” and set aside. Sift together the 350g flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Now add the oil, zest and curdled soy milk mixture. Stir until just combined, adding flour from the 100g as needed to achieve a powdery, not-even-a-little-bit-sticky dough.

At this point I usually divide the dough into two or three as it’s easier to work with. Knead a piece a few times and flatten it into a bit of a disc-shape. Now cut wedges, about six if you divided the dough in two, and get those babies on a parchment or silplat-lined baking sheet. Bake them for about 10-15 minutes (my oven is psycho, so sometimes it’s more like 10, sometimes 14ish).

While they are on the cooling rack, make your Divine Glaze:

  • about 180g powdered/icing sugar (give or take, depending on the consistency you like)
  • the juice of three lemons (you know, the ones you just scalped for the zest)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract (optional, this really gets things lemony)

All you need to do is mix this up until the powdered sugar dissolves. When the scones are mostly-cool just drizzle this all over them. Setting them on parchment paper is a good idea to help with easy clean-up since this glaze could also double as tasty super glue I think. If these don’t float your sconey-boat, you could also try the Rose & Almond Scones I made for BBD last May – delicate rose flavoured almond scones – yum!

Speaking of lemons, look what I got!

lemonade-award2One of my favourite blogger buddies, Jumbleberry Jam, passed along the Lemonade Award which goes to bloggers who show great Attitude and/or Gratitude. My wise and witty Jumblefriend loves gourmet vegan food, wine, dark chocolate…wait a minute, I think that this describes the majority of my readers! Anyway, thank you so much for this much-appreciated distinction. While I’m to pass this on to 10 other bloggers, I am incapable of choosing because there are so many of you that I just LOVE, so consider yourself awarded if you meet at least one of the following criteria :

1. You can’t wait to read your favourite blogs, and are incapable of keeping up with your “Reader” which makes you crazy!

2. You feel a genuine connection to your favourite bloggers and refer to them as “friends you met on the Internet” when talking about them to non-blogging people (as opposed to just calling them “bloggers”).

3. You’re eternally grateful for the fabulous recipes and food ideas you find in blogland and have no idea how you’d plan your weekly meals without them.

There you go! Do let me know if you’ve been tagged!

Traditions : Holiday Breakfast

I love holidays. In fact, I love them all. I’ll celebrate just about any holiday, religious (I’m agnostic) or secular, provided they involve the following : joy, laughter, family, friends, food & fun.

My childhood was idyllic in so many ways : loving, caring parents, a slew of noisy, energetic sibs and a host of family traditions, especially around the holidays.

The holidays meant spending time with my grandparents and my extended family, and our celebrations were built on sharing stories (like the time my 5 year-old mum could hear Santa putting presents under the tree at the same time as she could hear our grandfather snoring! So it obviously wasn’t him…), singing holiday songs (very musical family), playing games (is it wrong to teach a 5 year-old poker?) and feasting on all the goodies that come with the season.

Now before you go barfing on your vegan shoes over the Hallmark Hall of Fameness of my memories, let me reassure you, my family was (is) as crazy and dysfunctional as the next one, but my childhood eyes were all but blind to the ills plaguing members of my immediate family. Nothing was hidden from us, but we focused on other things, more important things, like taking evening walks through the snow to look at the Christmas lights decorating the houses, making decorations out of construction paper and popsicle sticks. The good stuff.

One of my fondest holiday memories is of Christmas Day breakfast. After we’d gotten up far to early to open gifts and loot stockings, it was time for a feast of breakfast foods, and to add to the exceptional nature of the meal, we’d even drink orange juice from wine glasses! Wow. One of my favourite things were the pancakes. We didn’t eat them often as kids, so they were a real treat.


These are the pancakes I’ll be making this year to honor the tradition, Joni’s “No-Fail Buttermilk Pancakes”. These were the fluffiest, lightest pancakes I’ve ever made – hands down. This test recipe is for the “500 Vegan Recipes” book she and Celine are publishing. We’ve all got a “favourite” pancake recipe, right? Well, this one’s mine.

And here’s a little vegan cheese for the holidays. I’m a huge Bowie fan. I also love to listen to Bing belt out the holiday classics. I love this piece of nostalgia – that almost never happened – and the bittersweet memories that come with it.

Going With The Grain

Fall – or some sort of more recent global warming type of version of it – has arrived here in France. It’s a wet and chilly 8c during my morning run, then it’ll shoot to 24c around lunch, then plummet down to 13c and begin gusting and raining for the afternoon…lovely, really, if you enjoy schizophrenic climate change. Me, not so much.

It’s actually rained, for at least 20 minutes or (much) longer, every day since September 1. Happily the one day sans pluie was Guppy’s first day of school, and that bright, welcoming sunshine did help everyone remain cheery. But that was only ONE day.

With this bizarre and dreadfully dreary weather comes the gradual change from my morning bright and bouncy green smoothies chock full of market fresh fruits and spinach, to more comforting, grounded breakfasts full of warming energy and sustenance.

One of my whole grain breakfast standards is just a multi-grain porridge. It’s like the food equivalent to soft and fuzzy flannel pajama pants – not terribly sexy, but comfortable, cosy and familiar. I soak a 1/4 cup each (or if your me, about two handfuls) of brown rice, steel cut oats, barley and wheat berries over night, then in the morning when I come in from my run I rinse it all well, cover it up with water, and bring it to a boil. Then I let it simmer for about 30 minutes while I stretch and shower, and voila : a hearty, warm breakfast. Sometimes I use amaranth. Or quinoa. Depends on what I have on hand and my mood I suppose.  Often topped with a dusting of nutmeg and cinnamon, some maple syrup, maybe some dried fruits and some almond or soy milk, this whole grain stew feels like something from my childhood, a sort of inexplicable genetic memory sort of home and hearth feeling. This does make a huge amount (if you’re the only one who eats it, which is my case) and while I know one shouldn’t dine on left-overs too terribly long, I love that this gets me three to five days of breakfasts which also helps cut down on the morning planning and stress, which is always welcome, whatever the weather.

My little multi-grain porridge isn’t very original, but it is my contribution to this month’s Weekend Breakfast Blogging hosted by the lovely Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen who choose the fabulous theme this month “Grains In My Breakfast”. Merci, Aparna! I realized I don’t have an actual picture of my porridge…I am just in love with the beauty of grains, and think they look so beautiful in their natural state – and so flannel pajamaesque when cooked…you know what it looks like anyway!