Snacks

Beetroot & bean spread

Beet spread

This is a yummy, vibrant spread / dip that’s quick to make. It’s has an earthy flavor and is nice and healthy.

Start by dry roasting 1 tsp. cumin seeds in a frying pan, then put them aside.  Chop a small onion and a stalk of celery and fry them in a couple of tbsp. olive oil, as they begin cooking add 3-4 clove of garlic. While they are all softening peel and grate a large beetroot (about 350 – 400g) then grate it coarsely. Add the beetroot to the frying pan and 1/2 tsp. salt. Fry for a couple of minutes until the beetroot begins to soften.

Meanwhile strain and rinse a can of beans (red kidney or mixed beans). Then add 1 tsp. of balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika and half the cumin seeds to the veggies and turn off the heat.  Put the veggies and the beans in a food processor and blend until it becomes a smooth paste. Scoop out into a bowl and allow to coo. To serve drizzle with some olive oil and sprinkle with the remaining cumin seeds and a little smoked paprika.

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Soups

Roasted cauliflower and carrot soup

soup

This is a hearty and creamy vegan soup using seasonal cauliflowers. This will make 4 servings.

So what do you need?

  • a medium-sized cauliflower
  • 2 or 3 carrots
  • an onion
  • 4 / 5 cloves of garlic
  • a tsp. cumin seeds
  • a tsp. coriander seeds
  • a tsp. turmeric
  • a tsp. salt
  • 2 / 3 dried chillies
  • 1 – 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 700ml – 1 liter of vegetable stock
  • 150ml coconut milk
  • a small bunch of fresh coriander

So what do you do?

Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees C / 400 F. Peel and chop the carrots into chunks and put them in a baking tray, add the cauliflower broken into florets and chop the onion into quarters and add it along with the garlic cloves, still in their skins. Grind the coriander seeds and add them along with the other spices, the oil, and half the salt. Mix everything together and then roast in the oven for about 40-45 minutes, turn them a couple of times, until the veggies are cooked and start to brown. Then allow to cool a bit and squeeze the roasted garlic out of their skins and remove the chillies (you can keep some of them in if you want it spicy).

Then either put all the veggies along with about 700ml of stock, the coconut milk and a small handful of fresh coriander in a liquidizer and blend until smooth, or put everything in a saucepan and use a hand-held blender. The soup should be nice and thick, you can add more stock to get the consistency you prefer. taste and add more salt if necessary. Heat through and serve garnished with coriander leaves and the chillies.

 

 

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Baking, Veggie mains

Chestnut, pumpkin and leek stuffing

stuffing

This is a festive stuffing that can easily be made vegan a great option for veggies at Christmas or Thanksgiving. Just make sure the meat eaters don’t eat it all before you get a look in! This will make 1 large baking dish approximately 30 x 20 cms.

So what do you need?

  • 1 baguette (a day old one is great)
  • 400g pre-cooked chestnuts
  • 400g pumpkin fesh
  • 200g leeks
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • about 6 tbsp. olive oil
  • 250-300 ml veggie stock
  • 1 tsp marmite
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • a few springs of thyme
  • a few sage leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • butter (optional)

So what do you do?

Start by heating your oven to 175 degrees C / 350F. Peel and deseed your pumpkin and chop 400g of the flesh into cubes about 2 cms in size. crush a couple of cloves of garlic and then put the pumpkin, garlic a tbsp. of olive oil an a pinch of salt an a good grind of pepper into a baking and give it a mix and roast the pumpkin for about 15 mins in the oven until it starts to soften. Meanwhile chop the bread into cubes about 2cms and put in a large mixing bowl. Slice the leek and lightly steam it for a few minutes then add to the bowl. Break the chestnuts roughly into halves and add to the bowl. Crush the remaining garlic with about 1/2 tsp. salt and add this to the bowl with some ground pepper and a good grating of nutmeg, about a third of a nut, and the chopped herbs then add in the roasted pumpkin and pour over a good amount of olive oil and mix everything together. The add the stock, with the marmite dissolved in it, which will be absorbed by the break and make the stuffing soft. Then spread the stuffing in a greased baking dish and grate a little more nutmeg on the top and either drizzle over a bit more olive oil or put small bits of butter over the top. Put back in the oven and bake for about half an hour until the top turn crisp and golden.

 

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Thai Food, Veggie sides

Yam Tua Plu wing bean salad

yam tua plu

This ‘Yam’, or Thai spicy salad, is very similar to the banana flower salad the eggs are optional and obviously not for vegans. I really enjoy these yams made with chilli paste and coconut milk as they are less Next make the dressing, for this in a saucepan mix together about 1tbsp of palm sugar, 1 -2 tbsp of vegetarian Thai chilli paste, 2-3tbsp of light soy sauce about 5-6 tbsp of coconut milk and warm these up until they all combine. than the standard yams that are made with fresh chillis.

So what do you need?

  • 200g wing beans
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 4 shallots
  • 2 -3 dried chillies
  • vegetable oil
  • 4-5 cherry tomatoes
  • a lime
  • 2-3 tbsp. peanuts
  • 75ml coconut milk
  • light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. palm sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp. veggie chilli paste
  • some lettuce leaves
  • some coriander

So what do you do?

First steam the wing beans for a few minutes and then put them in a bowl of iced water. While they are steaming dry roast the peanuts in a pan and then leave them to cool. Next peel and finely slice half of the shallots and heat some vegetable oil in a wok and fry them until brown and crisp and put to one side, quickly fry the chillis too.

To make the dressing heat up the coconut milk in a saucepan and then mix in about 1tbsp of palm sugar, 1 -2 tbsp of vegetarian Thai chilli paste, 1-2 tbsp of light soy mix until they all combine and turn of the heat and squeeze in a coupe of tbsp. of lime juice. Taste the sauce it should be a balance between sweet, spicy and sour. You can adjust it to your taste. Crush the peanuts in a pestle and mortar and add them to the sauce.

Then drain the wing beans and slice them into  slices about 3-5 mm thick, they will resemble stars, and put them in a bowl, add the carrot and slice the remaining shallots and cut the tomatoes into quarters and add them. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and mix everything together. To get any remaining dressing out of the saucepan add a little water and then pour this into the bowl too, you want to make sure you have enough sauce / dressing on the salad.

To assemble the salad put some lettuce leaves on a plate and then spoon the salad over them pouring on any extra dressing. You can add the hard boiled eggs to the plate if you are using them. Then sprinkle over the fried shallots and garnish with some coriander leaves and the fried chillis.  Anyone who likes extra spice can crumble some of the chilli over their salad.

 

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Veggie mains

Lentil and aubergine stew

stew

At the weekend I saw a picture on Ottolenghi’ s Instagram feed which was a lentil and aubergine stew that looked very tasty so I decided to make my own version. I was pretty easy to make and is really earthy and delicious. I decided to spice the stew with middle eastern spices and added smoked paprika which gave it a lovely smoky flavor. Feel free to adapt the herbs and spices you used to suit your taste. This made a enough for 4 servings. It’s great with bread or mashed potatoes but I served it with savoury scones.

So what do you need?

  • a large onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic (chopped)
  • 2 large aubergines
  • 5 or 6 skinned tomatoes (or a can of tomatoes)
  • about 120g dry brown lentils
  • a couple of bay leave
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  •  a couple of stalks of dill
  • sea salt
  • plenty of olive oil

So what do you do?

Start by chopping the onion and frying it in a large frying pan. Fry it for a minute or two in some olive oil and the add the garlic. Cut the auberine into chunks of about 4-5 cms in size and add this and a couple of pinches of salt to the frying pan. The aubergine will soak up the olive oil so add more as necessary to fry it and add the cumin and coriander seeds. Once the onion starts to brown transfer the veg into a heavy saucepan with a lid. Add the lentils, chopped tomatoes and bay leaves and cover with hot water (or veggie stock if you have it), you can rinse the frying pan out with water and add it to the pan too. Cover the pan and bring to the boil and then simmer for about 25-30 minutes until the lentils are cooked, the sauce has reduced and thickened a little and the aubergine is soft, tender and starting to break up. Chop the dill and add this along with half the paprika and taste and add more paprika and salt to taste. Like most stews and curries it will taste great the next day too!

 

 

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Veggie mains

Spaghetti with cabbage, garlic, chilli and breadcrumbs

spaghetti

This is a quick and easy pasta dish that makes a tasty supper or quick lunch. It’s pretty healthy, especially if you use whole wheat pasta, and it’s basically vegan, but if you like you can add some butter. This recipe is for two portions.

So what do you need?

  • 250g (whole wheat) spaghetti
  • 250 – 300g finely sliced cabbage
  • 5-8 cloves of garlic
  • 1.-2 dried chillies
  • salt
  • 1 slice of whole meal bread
  • 6 tbsp. olive oil
  • a squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
  • a knob of butter (optional)

So what do you do?

Start by heating a saucepan of salted water to cook the pasta in. While this is coming to the boil, crumble the slice of bread into breadcrumbs and crush a clove of garlic and add it with a pinch of salt to the breadcrumbs. Heat 1 tbsp. of oil in a frying pan and fry the breadcrumbs gently until golden brown and crisp and put them to one side in a bowl.

Once the pasta water boils cook the pasta and over the boiling pasta steam the cabbage for a few minutes in a sieve. Slice the rest of the garlic and fry it in the remaining olive oil until it starts to turn light brown and then add the chopped chillies. The cabbage should have started to soften by now and you can add it to the frying pan along with a pinch of salt. Sauté the cabbage while the pasta continues to cook you can add a little of the pasta water to help soften the cabbage. Once the past is cooked drain it and add it to the cabbage fry for about a minute so the pasta absorbs the flavours of the oil. At this stage you can add the butter and lemon juice if using them. Divide into two bowls and sprinkle over the breadcrumbs.

 

 

 

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Veggie mains

Veggie kebabs

BBQ.jpg

I’ve been making veggie and tofu kebabs for the BBQ for over 25 years and they’re still one of my favourite things to put on a BBQ. This will make about a dozen skewers. They’re really good served with satay sauce.

You can make them with your favourite veg or what’s in season.  Start by soaking some bamboo skewers in water to stop them burning on the BBQ. Then prepare the tofu. Take a block or two of firm tofu and  cube it into squares of 2-3 cms then shallow fry it turning occasionally until golden brown. This will add to the texture and flavor of the tofu. After frying the tofu make a marinade by crushing 3 or 4 cloves of garlic and about half a dozen pepper corns add a tbsp. of sesame or olive oil, a tbsp. veggie oyster sauce and a tbsp. soy sauce, a tbsp. or two of sesame seeds and a tsp. of turmeric powder. Mix the marinade together and then cover the tofu with it in a bowl.

Next prepare the other ingredients, chop a couple of courgettes a large bell pepper, a couple of onions and a bowlful of mushrooms into chunks that are a similar size to the tofu. Put them in a bowl and drizzle with some oil, sesame or olive work well. Then assemble the kebabs by putting skewering the various veggies on them putting something quite sturdy at each end to stop them falling apart. Place them on a plate and drizzle over and remaining marinade. Cook on a lowish BBQ turning occasionally until the vegetables are cooked, they won’t all cool at exactly the same speed but if some veggies get a little charred that adds to the flavor. For the satay sauce follow the recipe here.

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